In 2011, the General Assembly passed a law that required abortion clinics performing five or more first trimester abortions per month to comply with standards for out-patient hospital requirements. Abortionists at that time complained that many of their businesses would close because they could not meet the new safety standards.
Virginia’s regulations implemented by the Virginia Board of Health were modeled after regulations approved by the Fourth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond in the Greenville Women’s Clinic v. Bryant (2000) case. The South Carolina regulations were derived from Planned Parenthood, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Abortion Federation and the American Institute of Architects.
Pro-abortion critics call such efforts, TRAP, for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. They claim that requiring hallways to be a minimum width constitutes harassment and that such requirements are irrelevant to patient safety. A minimum hallway width is necessary to safely transport women from a clinic to a hospital after a botched legal abortion.
The infamous Philadelphia abortionist, Dr. Gossnell, was responsible for the death of at least one woman from Prince William County, for this very reason. The January, 2011 Philadelphia Grand Jury indictment of Dr. Gossnell for murder referenced the lethal effect of the lack of sufficient hallway width:
“Even then, there might have been some slim hope of reviving Mrs. Mongar. The paramedics were able to generate a weak pulse. But, because of the cluttered hallways and the padlocked emergency door, it took them over twenty minutes just to find a way to get her out of the building.” page 8/11
“The physical layout of the clinic, a confusing maze of narrow hallways and multiple twisting stairways, should have been an obvious bar to its use for surgical procedures.” page 45/48
It is regrettable that pro-abortion politicians and candidates in Virginia oppose sensible regulations for out-patient surgery.
On May 4, 2015 Attorney General Mark Herring, (who decided in late 2014 that abortion clinic nurses do not have to report statutory rape), told the Health Commissioner that abortionists do not have to comply with a 2011 law passed by the General Assembly applying professionally designed safety regulations devised by the American Institute of Architects to ensure safe evacuation of women to hospitals after a botched abortion.
On January 17, 2013 the Senate Education and Health Committee rejected then Senator Mark Herring’s SB 1116 that would have exempted abortion clinics from the very construction standards he now claims do not apply.
Since the Senate did not pass Senator Herring’s bill he sought to replace the law of Virginia and conclusions of the American Institute of Architects, with his own personal opinion that regulations the General Assembly made possible in 2011 should be repealed. Attorney General Herring is acting like a one-man legislature.
Mr. Herring falsely claims the General Assembly is penalizing clinics because these standards were not required in the past. Not true! The law we passed applies equally to existing and future clinics. Some clinics complied, others have not. Mark Herring has no authority to give them a free pass, there is no exemption in the law, and Mr. Herring cannot create one. Nor does he have authority to veto an Act of the General Assembly signed by the Governor.
The Manassas Amethyst abortion clinic on business Rt. 234 was inspected in late May and early June 2012. The VA Board of Health found the following deficiencies:
The misnamed Falls Church Healthcare Center Abortion clinic filed a law suit in June, 2013 challenging the Commonwealth of Virginia’s abortion clinic regulations.
Previously, in August, 2012 the Falls Church Center underwent an inspection from the VA Health Department. Even though the clinic was advised ahead of time about the inspection, the Health Department filled over 40 pages of violations of standard medical safety requirements, and wrote out 20 pages of recommendations to improve safety for women undergoing abortions.
The violations resulting from the ANNOUNCED visit included the following:
There is a “War on Women,” but it is being conducted by politicians who accept money from abortionists, not pro-life advocates who rely on volunteers, charity donations and private funds to assist women without charge through crisis pregnancies regardless of their age, race, religion, ethnicity or country of origin.
“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”
– Thomas Jefferson