RICHMOND, February 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After years of struggling to implement abortion clinic regulations holding them to the same standard as hospitals, Virginia pro-lifers celebrated Thursday as the state’s general assembly passed such a measure, with the lieutenant governor breaking a tie vote in the Senate.
The new abortion clinic regulations were attached as an amendment to SB 924 on the floor of the House of Delegates by Del. Kathy Byron this week before the Senate, which usually strikes down pro-life changes, split over the bill 20-20, with two conservative Democrats joining the 18 Republican senators. Lieutenant governor Bill Bolling saved the measure with a favorable vote to break the tie.
Governor Bob McDonnell had said he would sign the measure.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Republicans in the House, facing the end of the legislative session Saturday, were able to use a parliamentary procedure to force a rare vote of the full Senate on the issue.
Abortion lobbyists in the state have fought the regulations, saying that as many as 17 of the Virginia’s 21 abortion clinics may be forced to close due to the cost of improvements.
Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb told the Post that the state’s Board of Health, many of whose members were appointed by Democrat former Gov. Timothy Kaine, would craft reasonable regulations. “These are health professionals who are going to promulgate appropriate regulations,” she said.
Pro-life leaders are praising the measure as a major victory in Virginia, where pro-life initiatives have often stalled. Denise Burke, Vice President of Legal Affairs for Americans United for Life, said the bill was long overdue.
“As the Gosnell case in Pennsylvania and other recent cases across the nation have shown, the abortion industry cannot be counted on to police itself,” Burke told LifeSiteNews.com.
“For too long, substandard practitioners and dangerous clinics have been allowed to injure and endanger untold numbers of women each year. We must place women’s health and safety above abortion industry profits and ideology and this new legislation in Virginia does just that.”
Updated 12:59pm EST 2.25.2011