Virginia House Passes Abortion Facility Regulation Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 23, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Virginia House Passes Abortion Facility Regulation Bill

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
January 23, 2004

Richmond, VA ( — The Virginia House of Delegates advanced a bill Thursday that would tighten health and safety regulations on abortion facilities.

Delegate Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) said the legislation is necessary to protect women, as abortion facilities have safety standards lower than even veterinary clinics. Marshall estimated that 18 of the 20 abortion facilities in Virginia would fail to meet the new standards.

"Back-alley clinics have moved to Main Street with the permission of the state government," said Marshall. "This bill establishes standards."

Similar laws in other states have been successful in requiring abortion facilities to spend heavily to meet the standards. In a few cases, abortion facilities have closed because they were unable to meet the requirements.

Despite objections from pro-abortion legislators, and an underhanded attempt to amend the bill to ban all abortions in order to kill it, the bill advanced to a third reading on the House floor.

The state legislature is also considering a ban on second- and third-trimester abortions, as well as legislation that would require abortion practitioners to anesthetize the unborn child before performing an abortion after the first trimester.

The Family Foundation of Virginia, a pro-life group, is supporting three more pieces of legislation in the current session — an unborn victims of violence bill, a parental notification bill, and legislation to cut state funding of Planned Parenthood.

While previous attempts to pass an unborn victims bill in Virginia have failed before, Victoria Cobb, the Family Foundation’s director of legislative affairs said the Laci Peterson case in California "is going to provide some momentum."

Cobb also stated that the Family Foundation will be supporting a budget amendment to eliminate public funding for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, because she claims it is an "extreme and controversial organization."

PPAV Director of Government Relations Ben Greenberg told the Associated Press that his organization does not receive direct state funding, but does receive funding through contracts with local agencies.