Virginia Governor McDonnell Wants to Reduce Abortions More

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 11, 2011   |   1:32PM   |   Richmond,VA

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he supports reducing abortions further in the state and backs a bill in the state legislature that would put more regulations on abortion facilities in place.

“I think that’s important and I’ll support that,” he said on Norfolk’s WNIS radio of the bill to ensure abortion centers comply with the same rules and standards that apply to legitimate medical facilities.

McDonnell also told the radio station he recently asked his commissioner of health to examine the abortion totals across the state, and he said he “found out that we’ve really got some appallingly high rates of abortion, pregnancy terminations in certain metropolitan areas.”

McDonnell said he “directed our commissioner of health to start taking some action on those subjects to be able to formulate some community-based plans for everything from education to other things to be able to reduce these terribly high rates,” and included more money for reducing abortions in his state budget. he said Virginians want to see abortions lowered.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued a ruling in August that the state can implement the regulations on abortion centers without passing legislation, a point important to pro-life state Rep. Bob Marshall, who worries the legislation will die in the legislature.

“The clinic regulations we are asking for are currently in place in South Carolina and according to Attorney General Cuccinelli, do not need legislation to be implemented,” he told today. “We must continue to petition the Governor to implement these regulations which have been upheld in the Fourth Federal Circuit Court.”

In his opinion, Cuccinelli provided legal guidance for the state Board of Health and said more limits can be placed on abortion businesses in Virginia when it comes to healthy and safety standards.

Noting that Roe v. Wade allows still allows virtually unlimited legal abortions, the attorney general said the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision allowing limits in other states makes it so Virginia limits would likely be seen as constitutional. The key is making abortion businesses meet the same standards as legitimate outpatient medical facilities and those limits could close some abortion centers that do not follow current state guidelines.

After the ruling, McDonnell said he agreed with the analysis.

Meanwhile, the state legislative session starts tomorrow and a bill to regulate abortion centers has been introduced. Under current law, abortion practitioners must be licensed by the state Board of Medicine, but abortion centers themselves are considered “physicians offices,” and don’t meet the same strict standards as surgical facilities doing legitimate medical procedures.

Virginia’s Department of Health had regulated abortion clinics until pro-abortion Chuck Robb became Governor and ended the practice.

Cuccinelli’s opinion is important because it gives the green light for the state legislature to pass bills putting abortion centers in the same category as ambulatory surgery centers and requires them to meet certain standards to protect women’s health. Failure to do so would see them close permanently or temporarily while deficiencies are corrected.

“We should do everything possible to ensure that every woman’s life and health and their future pregnancies are protected by the Commonwealth of Virginia. To do otherwise is to shirk from government’s first responsibility,” Delegate Marshall explained. “The National Library of Medicine has hundreds and hundreds of peer review medical articles documenting the immediate dangers of first trimester legal abortion to women and subsequent pregnancies.”