So there has been some interesting news regarding the TRAP regulations bill in Virginia over the past week or so. If you recall from a while back, we wrote about a new bill passed by State legislators to create regulations that will require all abortion clinics to be held to the same building standards as all newly built hospitals. Not existing hospitals, but ones that are currently under constructions. These rules would apply to all abortion clinics though, not just newly built ones. They are extremely harsh, the harshest in the country by some judgments and like those in Pennsylvania, will NOT help women. They will likely cause all the clinics in the state close.
The regulations were drafted first by a panel of medical experts and health professionals and then sent to the Board of Health for approval. Once approved by the Board they were sent to Governor McDonnell for his final approval and once that it achieved they will be implemented. On December 1st members of the Virginia ACLU, members from the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health and Delegate Charniele Herring met with members of Gov. McDonnell’s staff to encourage him to send the regulations back to the Board of Health to make “revisions that reflect evidence-based medical practices that advance public health.” During this meeting they presented a petition with over 40,000 signatures opposing the current regulations.
The regulations are absurd in their own right, but it seems the process of developing them may not have been as straight forwards as it should have been. An AP report shows that the regulations in their current state are not at all what the initial panel presented to the Board of Health. In fact one member Dr. James E. Ferguson II said “’I don’t know where they got changed, but ultimately they were different, more stringent and more restrictive – and several of them, at least, unnecessary…’” and another said that he doesn’t believe the current regulations were made by actual medical experts. This same panel member Dr. Jerome F. Strauss III “said the advisory panel initially was told that existing clinics could be ‘grandfathered in’ and would not be held to standards that were not in place when they opened. So he was surprised to later learn that was not the case.”
According to a report by NBC 29, the Charlottesville, VA affiliate, the ACLU is blaming the Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli responsible for pressuring the Board of Health to make changes to suit his political ideology instead of using medical fact to determine what regulations may be needed. The medical field recognizes abortion as a relatively safe procedure with very few complications and a hospital like atmosphere is not needed to ensure patient safety. As always with supposed “pro-lifers” Cuccinelli ignored the realities of abortion care and imposed onerous regulations to make himself look better to potential constituents.