Virginia Board of Health Expected to Overturn Any Oversight or Inspections of Abortion Clinics

State   |   Dave Andrusko   |   Sep 17, 2015   |   10:25AM   |   Washington, DC

This falls squarely under the “elections do matter” category. In 2013, when pro-abortion Terry McAuliffe, running over with money and media support, defeated pro-life Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to become Virginia’s new governor, the handwriting was on the wall.

In an editorial that ran over the weekend, the Washington Post told us the state Board of Health “is poised to end the assault on abortion rights in the commonwealth.”

By “assault,” they mean regulations that were adopted in light of a 2011 law passed the legislature that required abortion clinics be treated like outpatient surgical centers, if they provide five or more first-trimester abortions a month. The regulations addressed such issues as building standards, staff training, sanitation, and equipment standards.

McAuliffe may no bones about his intentions, while running for governor. The regulations must go. Since that time, he has done everything he could possible do to make sure that the board of health would “relax” the regulations. To name just a few

He stacked the board with his own pro-abortion appointees. He appointed a new and more compliant Health Commissioner. McAuliffe also “accelerated the review process for the regulations.”

Then, in arguably the least surprising legal opinion of 2015, on May 4 pro-abortion Attorney General Mark Herring (D) issued an opinion that adopted the abortion industry’s position hook, line, and sinker. Herring said the requirements do not apply to abortion clinics that were in existence when the law was passed–effectively all the abortion clinics in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We’ve written dozens and dozens of stories about the abortion clinic regulations. The Post editorial is so wrong, it would be almost sort of funny if it didn’t mean abortion clinics will be less safe for women.

In its most triumphant tone, the Post tells us

The board, even when it was composed mainly of GOP appointees, in 2012, tried to shield the clinics from the legislature’s predations until Mr. Cuccinelli (R) threatened to withhold legal representation in the event board members were sued.

Wow, where to start.


Abortion proponents fiercely opposed the clinic regulations, and fiercely lobbied the board. However they did not gain any traction until June 2012 when the Board of Health suddenly decided to exempt existing abortion clinics from the law. This “grandfather” provision was widely lauded by the likes of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.

The board’s 7-4 decision came even though Senior Assistant Attorney General Allyson Tysinger told the members that the board lacked authority to grandfather in existing clinics. She explained that the law passed by the General Assembly that required the regulations specifically mandated the tougher building standards.

Soon after the board made its decision, Cuccinelli refused to certify the regulations. In July, when the board reversed itself (on a 13-2 vote), pro-abortionists insisted that Cuccinelli had “intimidated” the board, a charge board members denied to reporters.

Think about this. Since the previous pro-abortion governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, had appointed five members of the Board, the overwhelming 13-2 vote must have included at least three of his appointees.

But neither the overwhelming margin nor the commonsense position of Mr. Cuccinelli was allowed to interrupt the media narrative which continues to this day in places like the editorial board of the Washington Post: Cuccinelli had “bullied” the Board into changing its position, as part of the “right wing Republican’s” allegedly “radical” agenda.

Oddly enough, the Washington Post’s story at the time gave space to the reason some of those members changed their vote. In reporter Laura Vozzella’s story we read

“But some board members said they’d had a genuine change of heart after the board voted 7 to 4 in June to give clinics a reprieve.

“’I regretfully admit I was operating under a lot of confusion’ in June, said M. Catherine Slusher, a physician appointed by [then] Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). ‘It’s not a matter of personal preferences. It’s a matter of the General Assembly has passed a law, and it’s up to us to create the regulations that abide with that law.’”

But nothing can ever get in the way of allowing the Abortion Industry an unfettered ability to do exactly what it wants. As Olivaia Gans Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, told me at the tme of Herring’s opinion

Pro-abortion groups have real allies in Gov. McAuliffe, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, and Herring, who are successfully doing exactly what Virginia’s abortion industry requires in order to continue to operate unchecked and unregulated.” Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared at National Right to Life News Today.