- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
- Tea Party Patriots call key GOP firing a declaration of war
- 68,000 more file for unemployment — in one week
- Michigan bans in-state insurers from covering abortion
- Nancy Pelosi tells Democrats to pass budget: ‘Embrace the suck’
- Key Obamacare official: Last two months much harder than anyone hoped
- Sen. Mike Lee: We must stop ‘the prez’ from acting like the queen
Va. board to revisit controversial abortion clinic regs
Question of the Day
The Virginia Board of Health on Friday is scheduled to revisit its decision to exempt existing abortion facilities in the state from permanent hospital-like regulations — the latest chapter in a battle that has been raging for nearly two years over the highly-charged issue.
The board in June voted 7-4 to “grandfather” existing facilities that perform five or more first-trimester abortions per month into compliance with new permanent rules, which mandate specific guidelines on items like hallway width and operating-room sizes. The move shocked many conservative advocates of the new regulations, since temporary regulations already in place had been passed in September that did not exempt the state’s 20 or so existing facilities.
In a July memo, senior assistant Attorney General Allyson K. Tysinger wrote to Department of Health Commissioner Karen Remley that the attorney general’s office would not certify the revised guidelines as part of the regulatory process, saying the board does not have the authority to adopt the amended regulations because they conflict with legislation passed by the General Assembly last year.
Ms. Tysinger wrote in a memo to board members this week that the language in the law requiring the board to draft rules for clinics that include hospital-like standards is “clear and unambiguous” and that it mandates the facilities be classified as hospitals.
“The General Assembly did not provide for an exemption from licensure, or an exemption from meeting minimum standards for design consistent with the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Health Care Facilities, for entities that have currently been operating but are now subject to regulation,” she wrote.
In the memo, which was obtained by the Virginian-Pilot, Ms. Tysinger also said the office can decline to represent board members in subsequent litigation related to their action if they choose to ignore the advice, though “such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.”
Meanwhile, a significant portion of Virginia’s medical community is lending its support to the amendment. Nearly 200 doctors and medical professionals signed an open letter directed at the Board of Health stating that the issue at hand was not about abortion but about the board’s ability to remain an independent, objective public advisory group.
“Although the purported intent of these regulations is to protect women’s health, the safety record of these clinics in the Commonwealth has been exemplary,” they wrote.
But the conservative Family Foundation released findings they received this week after a public information request documenting numerous health code and safety violations in nine clinics across the state.
For example, an inspection of A Tidewater Women’s Health Clinic in Hampton Roads found a freezer used to store “collected conception material” with “blood and un-bagged conception material frozen to the inner bottom surface.”
“Even with time to prepare for announced inspections these centers were found to be what I think most reasonable Virginians would deem unsafe in many cases and utterly disgusting in others,” said Family Foundation president Victoria Cobb.
David Peters, medical director for the facility, said that like discarded materials in other medical settings such as emergency rooms or eye doctors’ offices, handling, properly storing and disposing of “products of conception” is part of the job for doctors in abortion clinics.
He said the incident noted in the health department report was regrettable but isolated.
“It’s unpleasant,” he said, “but the simple fact is that it’s just the cost of practicing medicine.”
Dr. Peters said that in his seven years at the clinic, they’ve never had a major complication, and that the release of the inspections and violations was simply a smokescreen. The nine facilities cited by the Family Foundation were inspected before being granted “unconditional licenses” by the Department of Health, according to the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health, an advocacy group.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- George W. Bush to embattled Alabama kicker: You will be stronger
- Black supremacist no longer employed at DHS: report
- Senate pulls all-nighter as GOP protests rules change
- Despite questions, Senate panel backs top Homeland nominee
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
Latest Blog Entries
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
- Selfie at heart of Obama fiasco to stay secret
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Fake interpreter at Mandela service: 'Sorry,' I have schizophrenia
- DIVEST! Oil is the new apartheid on college campuses
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Classical music and the performing arts: news and reviews you can use.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow