Having politicized the entire process, pro-abortionists now insist Va. Abortion clinic regulation must be free of “politics”


By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion Virginia Gov. McAulifee and Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia

Pro-abortion Virginia Gov. McAulifee and Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia

I started to count all the stories we have run about the attempt to write regulations to implement a 2011 Virginia law that required abortion clinics to upgrade their facilities and stopped at 25. Like shape-shifters, pro-abortionists have employed an ever-changing number of stratagems, all with one goal in mind: prevent the law, which requires abortion clinics to be treated like outpatient surgical centers, from ever taking effect.

There was ample room for mischief since (as is often the case) the specifics of implementing the law–formulating the rules–were left to someone else—in this case the state Board of Health. And sure enough, as we will discuss below, pro-abortionists successful prevented the rules from taking effect until pro-abortion Terry McAuliffe was elected governor in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2013.

Since then, McAuliffe’s heavy-handed attempts to change the composition of the Board of Health have been so blatant even the reporters and columnists for the Washington Post had to indirectly acknowledge that it’s all politics.

Which made an op-ed that appeared over the weekend in the Richmond Times-Dispatch by Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, all the more ridiculous. Headline? “Take politics out of health decisions, access.”


Here are just a few examples of how pro-abortionists used politics to delay implementation of regulations intended to safeguard women’s health and lives.

Pro-abortionists unsuccessfully attempted everything under the sun to derail the rules, or to remove their teeth–until June 2012. Out of the blue the Board of Health suddenly decided to “grandfather” in the 20 existing abortion clinics, meaning they were exempt from the new building standards, staff training, sanitation, and equipment standards.

This was flatly at odds with what the state legislature had intended and then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told the Board of Health so in so many words. The Board changed its mind and reversed itself.

Pro-abortionists turned their blatant misrepresentation of the state’s intent into a critique of Cuccinelli (who ran unsuccessfully for Governor against McAuliffe) for supposedly “bullying” the Board.

Once elected McAuliffe, the darling of the Abortion Establishment and the recipient of lots of pro-abortion money, rolled up his sleeves. Here’s how the wildly pro-abortion Washington Post explained McAuliffe’s strategy. According to reporter Laura Vozzella

“As a candidate, McAuliffe said he would do away with the regulations by issuing a ‘guidance opinion,’ a mechanism whose existence legal experts later called into question.”

Once he became governor, McAuliffe

“stacked the 15-member health board with five new abortion rights supporters, after nudging four members to wrap up their terms a month early.”

With a thoroughly stacked Board in his pocket, last month McAuliffe announced that they should “review” the regulations.

So how in the world could even NARAL talk about removing “politics” from a process that it had politicized for the last three years? By declaring that (a) by definition “intrusion in personal medical decisions” is a reflection of “political ideology,” and (b) abortion is so incredibly safe no regulations are needed.

In the era of Kermit Gosnell and all the other abortionist’ misconduct we have written about countless time at NRL News Today, it takes a lot of nerve for even the likes of Keene to dismiss abortion clinic regulation as unnecessary.

Consider this. On the one hand, where there are regulations, announcements are conveniently sent ahead to the abortion clinic, giving them ample time to (momentarily) clean up their facilities. On the other hand when abortion clinics are visited unannounced, a very different picture emerges.

We talked about many times in many places, including at “Third abortion clinic in North Carolina has license suspended after first inspection since 2006, ‘imminent threat to the health and safety of patients cited.’”

As for Virginia itself, in September 2012, when the Board of Health reversed reversed its June ruling that had exempted the 20 existing abortion clinics from a new law, that 13-2 vote came two days after a pro-life Virginia group secured three inspection reports, obtained under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

According to the AP, reports on “nine clinics listed 80 violations on issues including infection prevention, drug storage and dispensing, poor equipment maintenance and no background checks for employees.” A Tidewater Women’s Health Clinic in Norfolk was cited for “a number of sanitary issues, including the spilled blood and conception matter in the freezer,” the AP reported.

Abortion clinics need to be treated like outpatient surgical centers. Abortion clinics need to be regulated—and regularly inspected without prior notice. Abortion clinics must be held to the same safety standards of other outpatient surgical facilities.