by Steven Ertelt
January 22, 2008
Richmond, VA (LifeNews.com) — Under a new measure the Virginia House of Delegates approved on Tuesday, abortion facilities would be required to meet the same health standards as legitimate surgical centers. The House approved the measure on a strong majority vote but pro-life groups are concerned about a tougher Senate fight.
The House voted 60-37 for the measure, which requires abortion centers to receive regular inspections from the state health department and to comply with various medical requirements.
That vote came after a 15-4 approval from the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions.
The bill has faced problems getting the approval of the state Senate when Republicans controlled the chamber and, now that Democrats are in charge, it faces an even tougher time.
Yesterday, during debate, the House beat back attempts to amend the bill by Delegate Dave Englin that would have severely weakened the bill by broadening its scope.
However, Delegate Bob Marshall motioned that Speaker Bill Howell rule the amendment non-germane because of the narrow scope of HB 894, and Speaker Howell agreed. At that point, Englin ceased his opposition questions and the vote proceeded.
In the Senate, the measure will likely to be referred to the Health and Education Committee.
Before that, however, a similar bill, SB 437, patroned by Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel also will come before that committee.
The Family Foundation, a pro-life group in the state, told LifeNews.com it hopes abortion advocates are forced to vote twice on the measures.
"So the new Senate Democrat majority will have to go on record twice to prove if they truly believe abortion should be [promoted]," the group said.
Currently, abortion businesses are viewed by the state as doctor’s offices, with little or no safety standards. Any abortion center that does more than 25 abortions must meet the health standards in the bill.
Similar measures in other states have been successful in closing down some abortion facilities with shoddy conditions that put women at risk.
The Family Foundation, Virginia Society for Human Life and the Virginia Catholic Conference are working in conjunction to support the measure and other pro-life bills.
"Because abortion is an invasive surgical procedure, these clinics should be more strictly regulated to protect the life and health of women who go there, oftentimes under outside pressure," the Family Foundation told LifeNews.com in a statement.