Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Rules to Shut Down Virginia Abortion Clinics

New Rules to Shut Down Virginia Abortion Clinics
by Jarrett Stepman 08/30/2011

New rules regarding health care facilities will force numerous abortion clinics to shut down in Virginia.

After being passed back in February and signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell, the new regulations take effect in January and will apply dramatically higher health standards in a variety of facilities, but most controversially in abortion clinics. In a reversal of the typical policies pushed by conservatives and liberals, it is in fact a conservative Republican governor enacting the regulations and an organization typically linked with liberals that is fighting them.

The new Virginia rules will “apply to any facility in which five or more first trimester abortions per month are performed, and that such facilities shall be classified as a category of hospital for the purposes of such requirements.”

Adhering to hospital-level standards will require a dramatic increase the cost of abortion facilities, and like other highly regulated businesses, will force them to make a decision about their future economic viability. Virginia clinics will also be required to obtain licenses proving that they have adhered to the new restrictions.

The new rules and regulations were also justified because of the need for higher health standards in facilities that provide what can be a relatively dangerous procedure. The “House of Horrors” in Philadelphia was one example of an abortion clinic out of control, in which there was virtually no health standard or governmental oversight at all. The poor standards led to the death of several patients.

The entire, official set of rules will be crafted this Friday and will be voted on Sept.15. The state board of health, which will create these new rules, is mostly filled with McDonnell appointees.

Among the regulations will be new standards regarding the building requirements and the inclusion of food facilities.

The new regulations will only affect facilities that perform first-trimester abortions, and not later-term abortions that must already be performed in hospitals. Of course, this means that Planned Parenthood will be the most heavily affected abortion facilitator.

On top of the new regulations, Virginia has also taken measures to prevent any funding from ObamaCare going to pay for abortions, a measure that many other states have also taken.

Texas, which has passed similar laws to Virginia and has reduced the amount of public funds that are funneled to abortion clinics, has experienced a sharp drop in the total number of Planned Parenthood facilities. Texas has also gone a step further and created a law that requires a mother to see a sonogram of the baby before an abortion can take place.

Even though the new regulations are likely to cause a number of Planned Parenthood clinics to shut down, there have been efforts by activists and donors to keep them afloat.

A recent report came out showing that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a charity that’s purpose is to battle breast cancer, is actually donating large amounts of money to Planned Parenthood. In 2009-2010 it donated about $600,000 in total and about $14,000 to a Virginia clinic. This is controversial in large part because of the possibility that there is a link between getting an abortion and having a higher risk of getting breast cancer.

The impact of the regulations on Planned Parenthood has yet to be seen, but given the track record in other states and stiff resistance from its defenders, they are likely to lead to the shutdown of more than a few clinics. This of course also shows the power of regulatory policies. Regulations raise costs and decrease the effectiveness of any business, and Planned Parenthood will soon feel the entire effect of that in Virginia.

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