Virginia Legislature Rejects Abortion Facility Regs., Fetal Pain Measure

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 8, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Virginia Legislature Rejects Abortion Facility Regs., Fetal Pain Measure

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 8, 2004

Richmond, VA ( — The Virginia state legislature last week rejected two pro-life measures — one that would have installed numerous regulations abortion businesses must follow and another that would have required abortion practitioners to give an unborn child anesthesia prior to performing the abortion.

The Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee voted down both measures.

HB 116 and HB 1290, sponsored by Dels. Robert Marshall (R) and John Reid (R), respectively, would have required abortion facilities to be regulated like ambulatory surgical centers. The sponsors said abortion businesses, which claim to offer medical services, ought to be regulated just like any legitimate medical facility.

Similar measures in other states have required abortion businesses to spend thousands of dollars to comply with the law and resulted in the closing of at least one abortion facility. Virginia pro-abortion groups say some abortion facilities would have been forced to close as a result of the bill.

Robert Nebiker, director of the state Department of Health Professions, admitted that abortion clinics are not routinely inspected by the state.

The bill also would have required all abortions performed after the first trimester to be performed in a hospital.

The Senate committee, on a 9-5 vote, rejected a measure (HB 1315), sponsored by Del. Richard Black (R), that would have required doctors to administer anesthesia when performing abortions after the first trimestester.

Some members of the committee, comprised of eight Republicans and seven Democrats, showed their hostility toward pro-life measures, not just through their votes, but by a complete lack of respect toward witnesses.

According to the Family Foundation, a statewide pro-family group, "the actions of some members of the committee, particularly its chairman, Senator Russ Potts, got so bad at one point that Senator Bill Bolling had to ask the chairman and others to follow the normal decorum standards in the Senate."

Senator Potts replied angrily, "We are!"

The state House last month approved the pro-life measure, which included an amendment that would have enabled a woman to opt out of having the baby receive anesthesia if given information on the pain an unborn child feels during an abortion.

Though the Senate committee killed the bill, pro-life groups say the measure was successful in helping to educate the public about how abortion kills unborn children.