LifeSiteNews.com

Virginia AG: State Can Force Abortion Clinics to Follow Same Standards as Hospitals

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By Peter J. Smith

RICHMOND, Virginia (LifeSiteNews.com) –Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli may be about to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare” - simply by making abortion clinics offer women the same standard of care required by other outpatient surgical facilities.

Statistically speaking abortion is the number one surgical procedure that women undergo in the United States, and most abortions are performed in the first trimester.

However in Virginia, as in many other places around the country, abortion facilities have often escaped the health and safety standards that are mandated for other medical facilities, such as hospitals, that engage in out-patient surgery.

Just recently, Louisiana corrected that problem by giving its Health Department the regulatory authority to shut down facilities that failed to live up to hospital health and safety standards.

But many abortion clinics in Virginia have operated under the law as “physician’s offices” rather than medical facilities. If the state follows Cuccinelli’s legal advice, that could soon change.

"It is my opinion that the Commonwealth has the authority to promulgate regulations for facilities in which first trimester abortions are performed as well as providers of first trimester abortions, so long as the regulations adhere to constitutional limitations," Cuccinelli wrote in a legal opinion released Friday.

The opinion was written in response to an inquiry from Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) and Senator Ralph K. Smith (R-Roanoke), who asked whether the state had the authority to regulate facilities that perform 1st trimester abortions.

Cuccinelli pointed out that under Virginia statute, the definition of “hospital” can include abortion facilities because they fall within the Code’s broad definition of a “hospital.” In Virginia, a hospital is “any facility … in which the primary function is the provision of diagnosis, treatment, and of medical and nursing services, surgical or non-surgical, for two or more nonrelated individuals including … outpatient surgical [hospitals].”

He also pointed out that the Board of Health has already classified “abortion outpatient clinics” as outpatient hospitals, under its authority to classify hospitals.

“The attorney general’s comments on this issue points out to a real problem involving abortion practice in the United States, and that simply is that abortion across the United States is the single most commonly performed procedure on American women. And yet it does remain the most unregulated, underreported, and under-investigated of any form of medical care provided to American women,” Olivia Gans, President of the Virginia Society for Human Life, told LifeSiteNews.com. “So it is quite scandalous that women’s lives are literally hanging in the balance along with their children at these abortion provider’s hands.”

Cuccinelli also pointed out that abortion clinics may not be able to hide from the Board of Health’s regulations as “physicians’ offices,” since the Board has the authority to investigate that claim. He said that the Board of Medicine has broad authority to regulate all health practitioners in the state, and can therefore regulate standards of care in first trimester abortion facilities.

Cuccinelli also said that these positions had been upheld previously in federal court.

However, abortion advocates are protesting the attorney general’s opinion, arguing that if most abortion clinics carried out the same standards of care for women that are mandated at hospitals they soon would be out of business.

According to the Washington Post, abortion advocates predict that only four out of 21 abortion clinics would be able to fulfill that standard of care if mandated by the state Board of Health. The rest would be shut down.

Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, cast Cuccinelli’s opinion as “his first pitch" to make abortion inaccessible.

"These so-called regulations are only an attempt to shut down abortion clinics in the Commonwealth of Virginia," Keene told the Post.

Gans told LSN that while NARAL was often prone to “hyperbole,”“it is at time to time the case that serious and quite startling infractions of what would be normal medical practice and care are seriously violated in the practice of abortion.”

Gans added that the biggest reason that abortion facilities operate with “a cloak of invincibility” under the law is due to the confusion surrounding what states can and cannot do under current interpretations of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

“It does strike one as astonishing that NARAL would reject every effort to protect the lives and well-being of the women who are actually seeking abortions, as often as they reject any measure that would ultimately also protect the unborn child,” said Gans. “One has to ask who is NARAL or NOW or Planned Parenthood or any of these pro-abortion groups supportive of? And it appears too often that they are protecting the interests of the abortionists and not the children and their mothers.” 

The full opinion can be read here.

 
See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

Bobby Jindal Signs Landmark Abortion Reforms into Louisiana Law
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/jul/10070709.html

FREE pro-life and pro-family news.

Stay up-to-date on the issues you care about the most. Subscribe today. 

Select Your Edition:


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Lisa Bourne

,

Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
Image
Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

Advertisement
Featured Image
Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

, ,

Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

The Editors
By

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

, ,

Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook