Thursday, February 24, 2011

Virginia Abortion Clinics Likely to Close

Clinics that provide five or more abortions in a month will be regulated like hospitals under an amendment that narrowly passed the Senate, normally the bulwark against abortion restrictions.

For background, read Abortion Clinics Fear Medical Standards

UPDATE 8/27/11: Most Abortion Clinics to Close in Virginia

UPDATE 3/29/11: Governor signs bill into law

UPDATE 2/27/11: Washington Post presents pro-abortion view of law

-- From "Va. OKs bill to likely close most abortion clinics" by The Associated Press 2/24/11

Virginia took a big step Thursday toward eliminating most of the state's 21 abortion clinics, approving a bill that would likely make rules so strict the medical centers would be forced to close, Democrats and abortion rights supporters said.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican and Catholic, supports the measure and when he signs it into law, Virginia will become the first state to require clinics that provide first-trimester abortions to meet the same standards as hospitals. The requirements could include anything from expensive structural changes like widening hallways to increased training and mandatory equipment the clinics currently don't have.

While abortion providers must be licensed in Virginia, the clinics resemble dentists' offices and are considered physicians offices, similar to those that provide plastic and corrective eye surgeries, colonoscopies and a host of other medical procedures.

"It is not about banning abortions," said Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Winchester. "It is simply caring for women who are about to have an invasive surgical procedure and creating an environment for them where they have the opportunity to do that in a place that is safe."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Virginia passes tough abortion standards" by Chelyen Davis, The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA) 2/24/11

The vote tied, at 20-20, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling breaking the tie. Two Democrats and all Republicans voted for it.

Sen. Edd Houck, D-Spotsylvania, voted against the measure; Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Stafford, voted for it, along with all Republicans.

Houck is chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, where abortion restrictions usually die. A similar bill was killed there earlier this session. But this week House Republicans applied the change as an amendment to a different Senate bill, forcing the Senate into an up-or-down vote.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Va. General Assembly agrees to regulate abortion clinics as hospitals" by Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post 2/24/11

Antiabortion activists hailed the vote as the most significant victory they've achieved in Virginia in years. Abortion rights groups said they think the regulations will place an unconstitutional burden on a woman's ability to get an abortion in Virginia, and pledged to sue.

The practical impact of the vote will rest heavily on guidelines ultimately approved by the Virginia Board of Health. Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said she fears the worst, though the 15-member board is dominated by holdover appointments made by former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D).

In recent weeks, [pro-life advocates] have cited the case of a Philadelphia-area clinic recently shut down after authorities discovered a series of botched and illegal abortions; inspectors discovered containers of fetus parts.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.