On February 17, 2011, all 10 Democrats on the Senate Education and Health committee voted to defeat a bill that would have required the following of Virginia’s abortion centers:

  1. be licensed by the state
  2. be inspected by the state
  3. have emergency, life-saving equipment similar to other “outpatient surgery centers”
  4. ensure staff at abortion centers was qualified
  5. meet “minimum” construction standards

Representatives of the abortion industry lined up that day to decry the bill as “unnecessary, “burdensome” and would have forced the closing of abortion centers.

Four days later a different bill, SB 924, was amended in the House of Delegates to define abortion centers as hospitals, bringing with it more health and safety requirements, including stricter construction standards. That bill eventually became law, the basis for which abortion center health and safety standards were adopted.

Today, RedState has an interesting story about how, even before 2011, Virginia’s Senate Democrats refused to compromise at all on abortion center health standards, rejecting even the most minimal of “regulation”:

In 2005, [state Senator Ken Cuccinelli] drafted a bill that even anti-abortion advocates should have been embarrassed to vote against. It included basic hygienic practices at clinics such as having clean towels and ensuring they have backup power in the emergency that power goes out during an abortion procedure. That bill was called SB 839 and only a fraction of hospital regulations would’ve been applied to abortion clinics, according to Cuccinelli. Here are a few of the legislation’s specifics:

- Adequate provisions shall be maintained for the processing, sterilizing, storing, and dispensing of clean and sterile supplies and equipment.

- Written procedures shall be established for the appropriate disposal of pathological and other potentially infectious waste and contaminated supplies.

“Don’t both of these requirements sound like they should already exist?” Cuccinelli asks.  “This is a burden?”

Still, the Democrats wouldn’t budge.

His recollection of the vote should be even more infuriating to pro-lifers.

“When I finished my presentation on the bill, I affirmatively told the committee that if they thought any particular provision was too onerous, they could delete it and I wouldn’t object.  That caused a look of panic to come over a couple of the Dems’ faces.  Then, State Senator Steve Newman called the Planned Parenthood rep back to the lectern.  As the Planned Parenthood witness was walking up, Sen. Newman asked: “Can you tell me which of these provisions are too burdensome to operate an abortion clinic?”  Immediately, two Democrat Senators – Janet Howell and Louise Lucas – jumped forward to their microphones and they both shouted at once ‘Don’t answer that question!’  I have never seen such a thing, ever. And despite being pressed, the Planned Parenthood witness slavishly never answered the question. So much for the search for truth and good information with which to make decisions, much less compromise!”

These days, the $2 billion abortion industry claims that it’s okay with “reasonable regulations,” but finds the current standards “punitive.” Virginia’s sympathetic activist journalists leave the statement unchallenged. But the industry is lying. It has never supported any type of serious health and safety standards for its facilities.  Many don’t even bother to apply for the National Abortion Federation’s licensing and it’s ridiculously inadequate regulations.

The abortion industry won’t police itself. It’s allowed Kermit Gosnell to act barbarically for years, and it continues to allow Steven Brigham to own and operate abortion centers. Sadly, the overwhelming majority of Virginians don’t know the whole story because the media simply refuses to report it.