Discrimination, Health Care StyleFeb 19, 2016
The big news out of the abortion industry is the closure of yet another abortion center in Virginia. This time the Planned Parenthood abortion center in Blacksburg.
Notable is the reason given for the closing:
“The world of health care delivery in Blacksburg and the larger New River Valley has changed dramatically,” Paige Johnson, senior vice president at Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said in a news release Wednesday. “Virginia Tech has expanded their student services to include many reproductive health services and the Community Health Center of the New River Valley offers comprehensive health care, including women’s health services, at no or low cost.”
Did you catch that last part? There are other facilities in the community that offer actual “comprehensive” health care for women.
Of course, this fact flies in the face of the abortion industry rhetoric that makes it sound like without Planned Parenthood, women will have no options for their health care. And, that anything that doesn’t include taking the lives of unborn children isn’t quite “comprehensive” enough.
In the debate over Delegate Ben Cline’s HB 1090 that redirects non-Medicaid taxpayer funding to federally qualified facilities, hospitals, etc., the abortion industry has screamed “discrimination” and once again claimed already refuted arguments that most of their services are not abortion. In reality, there are over 140 federally qualified and rural health facilities in Virginia that offer more services than Planned Parenthood without the controversy, or the taking of lives.
Apparently, women in the New River Valley are indeed being more discriminatory, and choosing other health care facilities over Planned Parenthood. If women are making this choice, certainly the General Assembly should, by passing HB 1090.
Family Foundation Announces Impending Legal Action
- McAuliffe Administration Notified Today -
RICHMOND–The Family Foundation of Virginia today announced that the administration of Governor Terry McAuliffe has been notified of impending legal action regarding violations of state law by the Department and Board of Health during the abortion center health and safety standards regulatory process.
“Over and over again during the nearly three-year process of amending the standards, the administration and Board violated the Administrative Process Act, the state law that provides the framework for regulatory action, the administrative code, and the Governor’s own Executive Order 17 regarding the regulatory review process,” said Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation. “Regardless of one’s belief about the need for basic health and safety standards for abortion centers – or of any regulation for that matter – we all have to agree that a regulatory body cannot act outside the law when it wields extraordinary power over business, commerce and health care. We have the Administrative Process Act for that reason, to provide legal boundaries and process for unelected regulatory bodies, to provide transparency and public input throughout the regulatory process, and to be able to hold these agencies accountable when they go beyond the scope of their authority.”
Details of the administrative appeal were not released, but will be made available when the action is filed in Henrico Circuit Court within the next thirty days. The Family Foundation is paying the legal fees for one appellant in the appeal, Itzel Melendez, from Richmond. At a Richmond press conference today, Mrs. Melendez said, “In the past, I had occasion to visit an abortion center for the purpose of obtaining an abortion. I am participating in this case because I am concerned that without basic health and safety standards, abortion centers will operate in a way that could put my health at risk if I ever decided in the future that I needed their services. The standards that were in place were there to protect women like me from harm. Without them, I am no longer confident that my health would be protected.”
Cobb did reference one of the examples of where the pro-family organization believes the administration broke the law. She stated, “The agency violated the Administrative Process Act by amending entirely separate and unrelated regulatory sections that had not been included in the regulations’ “Proposed” phase. Several regulatory sections amended by the Board were not included in the “Proposed Regulation Agency Background Document” posted in townhall.gov, and these regulatory sections dealt with matters the public did not have an opportunity to comment on in accordance with the requirements of the law.
“In addition, several regulatory sections the Board amended were not even in the agency’s “Final Regulation Agency Background Document” posted in townhall.gov, let alone its “Proposed Regulation Agency Background Document”. The Code of Virginia requires that the notice requirement contain “(i) a statement of the date, time and place of the hearing at which the regulation is to be considered; (ii) a brief statement as to the regulation under consideration; [and] (iii) reference to the legal authority of the agency to act; ….” Yet, that never occurred for all of the regulatory topics for the sections that were not included in the agency’s “Proposed” regulations. This is an important matter of transparency – providing to the public a clear list what areas of regulation are intended to be reviewed and amended. The public and the entities being regulated should know from the beginning what areas of regulation the agency intends to change. By avoiding disclosing all the areas the Department and Board intended to amend they violated both the letter and spirit of the law.
“In this case, the Department and Board initially indicated they would review and amend only six areas of the regulations, and instead ended up changing more than 20. The public had no ability to weigh in on these changes until after the Board had already voted.”
Cobb said, “There is a specific, detailed, and yes sometimes cumbersome regulatory process that, whether we like it or not, is the law of Virginia. Without a framework, and without criteria and accountability for regulatory agencies, one can only imagine the damage that could be done in any arena by regulatory bodies.”
“The Family Foundation fully supports the actions taken by these appellants,” added Cobb. “It is unfortunate that the McAuliffe administration has in its ideological zeal consistently ignored or violated state law throughout this process, but it must be held accountable for those actions. The regulatory process has rules that must be followed. Again, this appeal is about that legal process and this administration’s ignorance of or disdain for that process.”
Appellants in the case who appeared at today’s press conference were Virginia Board of Health members Megan Getter and Henry Kuhlman, and Itzel Melendez of Richmond. The attorney representing Mrs. Melendez is Dan Carrell of Carrell, Blanton Ferris and Associates, Richmond.
Accountability for Abortion Centers: Six Years and Counting
Accountability for Abortion Centers: Six Years and Counting
Six years ago today, the Virginia General Assembly passed the law to hold abortion centers to reasonable health and safety standards for the first time. Virginia, like many other states, resolved to make certain that the Kermit Gosnell's of the world could no longer remain unaccountable for the ghastly practices and horrific conditions inside their abortion facilities. But that accountability didn't happen overnight. Even though the bill included an "emergency provision" in order to take prompt effect, the Board of Health still had to write the regulations.
Several months later, after much deliberation, the regulations went into effect, opening the door to periodic inspections which have allowed us to discover what was really going on inside these abortion centers and to see whether they were actually complying with the law. And just as we had suspected, the evidence has shown substantial and widespread health and safety violations. Since the first Health Department inspections of mid-2012, beginning with 20 abortion centers statewide, over 1,300 individual regulatory violations have been cited in official records from the Health Department. And those were just the ones cited, though certainly not representing exhaustive searches. In that time, six centers have closed their doors, with 14 remaining.
One abortion center - Virginia Health Group in Fairfax - was so bad, that within 24 hours of a 52-page report of violations, Governor McAuliffe's own Department of Health suspended its license, effectively shutting it down for good. Yet remarkably, the evidence does not show that many of these centers are improving their health and safety record over time. In November of 2016, during the most recent round of biennial inspections, the Annandale Women and Family Center was cited for 117 regulatory violations in a 144 page report - the most ever cited in a single abortion center inspection report. The record of these centers is replete with egregious examples of health violations including bloody, unsterilized medical equipment, doctors and nurses not washing hands or re-gloving between patients, and violations of state and federal drug laws.
It is within this context that Governor McAuliffe and his majority-appointed state Board of Health have spent the last three years doing everything they can to roll back and water down the abortion center health and safety regulations. Despite overwhelming evidence of their necessity, this administration will clearly stop at nothing to pay back favors to the billion dollar abortion industry. We spent that time resisting these attempts at every turn, but elections do have consequences, and time and power eventually prevailed in stripping the regulations of their force.
As of Monday, the final amended regulations have been posted for one final 30-day period before which they will take effect. Our options now are limited, but we are committed to continuing the fight where we can. We recognize, after all, that every life has tremendous value. That includes the lives of the babies whose lives are taken in these halls of death, but it also means the women who are permanently impacted by their experience there and who also deserve to be treated with care according to high standards of health and safety. We believe that ensuring that has led to positive and meaningful results that promote and preserve life in our state. And that's something worth fighting for.
It was quite an interesting morning outside the Governor’s Mansion on Capitol Square today. Late yesterday Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office released his “Public Schedule” for the week:
You’ll note that his “Public Schedule” includes “Governor McAuliffe to act on legislation impacting womens health” at 9:45 am today at the Executive Mansion. Now, we are well aware that the so-called “progressive” left has some difficulty discerning what is public and private (see bathrooms), and we learned this morning that this apparently includes what constitutes a “public” event.
You see, several of us who wanted to see the Governor’s “public” activity showed up at the Mansion and tried to gain access. Only when we did we were informed that no, the event wasn’t “public,” it was private. Yet we watched as several people entered the event without showing any form of ID, so how the Capitol Police could distinguish between those invited to the public/private event is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it was the signs we were carrying that said things like “Defund Planned Parenthood” and “Planned Parenthood Lies” that made us undesirable.
So undesirable, in fact, that we were then informed that we couldn’t hold up our signs because we “didn’t have a permit.” This was a bit perplexing since we know that permits aren’t granted for any areas of Capitol Square with the exception of the area around the Bell Tower, far removed from the Capitol and the Executive Mansion; and this despite having witnessed numerous groups all session long being allowed to hold up signs wherever and whenever they pleased. We’ve watched Planned Parenthood apologists line the sidewalks of Capitol Square with their signs. Apparently, they are permitted to do that. In all fairness to the Capitol Police, they were just “doing what we’re told,” apparently by the administration, because we did hold up signs when we first arrived, but then we couldn't.
While standing outside the fence surrounding the Governor’s Mansion unable to hold up our signs, we were able to hear the Governor pontificate on how it is so important to have an “open and inclusive” Virginia where everyone feels welcome. While we were standing outside the fence. Barred from being welcome.
The Governor then very publicly (sort of) vetoed legislation that would have redirected taxpayer dollars away from Planned Parenthood toward real health clinics that offer comprehensive care for women. McAuliffe was joined at this public (oh, never mind) campaign rally by candidate for Governor Ralph Northam and candidate for AG Mark Herring.
For the second year in a row, the Governor celebrated vetoing a bill supported by 54 percent of Virginians; last year he did so at a Planned Parenthood abortion center. At least this year he did it in public/private/behind a fence.