It’s has been a wild week in Virginia.
Earlier this month, every single pro-life bill died in in the Virginia Senate. The pro-abortion led caucus blocked many good pieces of legislation in committee on a party line vote. Bills like the opt-out of the abortion mandate in the federal health care bill, an expanded informed consent bill, and even a bill that would ban coercing a woman into getting an abortion against her will died in the Senate Education and Health Committee.
And then there was this week.
For years, the pro-life movement has tried to get basic abortion clinic regulations laws in place in Virginia - you know, the kinds of rules that guarantee that medical utensils will be cleaned, doors are wide enough for gurneys to fit through, etc. When a legislature considers such regulations, the abortion clinics fight these rules tooth and nail. You see, they don’t care about women’s health – just their bottom line.
On Monday, a rather routine bill came from the Virginia Senate over to the House with a vote of 40-0. Senate Bill 924 would require the Board of Health to promulgate regulations containing minimum standards for policies related to infection prevention, disaster preparedness, and facility security of hospitals, nursing homes, and certified nursing facilities. Delegate Kathy Byron had an idea. She offered an amendment in the House that added abortion clinics to the list of facilities to be considered as “hospitals” for the setting up of these standards. The amendment passed 63-34.
The bill was then sent back over to the Senate where its future was in doubt. We at AUL activated our grassroots supporters along with other allies such as the Family Foundation, and affiliate of Focus on the Family. When it came time to vote, the Virginia Senate this time voted 20-20 on the bill. Twenty senators changed their vote because they did NOT want to require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other medical facilities. That is amazing. Pro-abortion legislators continue to vote against basic health and safety rules of abortion clinics, even as abuses such as Kermit Gosnell’s ‘house of horrors’ come to light.
Thankfully, Virginia’s Lt. Governor, Bill Bolling is pro-life. As the head of the senate, he casts a vote when there is a tie. He voted to pass the bill.
Immediately, Governor Bob McDonnell enthusiastically indicated his willingness to sign the new bill into law. Even Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent out an email to constituents praising the bill’s passage.
Interestingly, pro-abortion organizations are already raising a furor saying that many abortion clinics in the state will likely close rather than be held to the standards that other medical centers have to meet. Frankly, if they can’t meet the standards of other medical facilities, then I think they should close. We should not allow abortion facilities to operate who refuse to meet basic health and safety standards and put women’s health above their profits.
Until today twenty-eight states regulated abortion clinics in some manner. Now Virginia finally joins the club. It’s time for the rest of the country to start protecting women too.