Saturday, February 26, 2011

Challenge to abortion clinic regulation destined for the courts

Virginia State Senator Chap Petersen (D-31) explains the mechanics of the vote to regulate abortion clinics as hospitals. Republicans added the amendment in a bill on the premise of making the procedure “safe” it can be argued that it will do the exact opposite. Less accessibility for the uninsured and the poor; clinics closing down that can’t meet the costly new regulations will only serve to send desperate woman to the “back room” again. The “back room” of unqualified abortionists with dirty equipment that leaves them scared or dead.

Sounds familiar to women who remember a time before Roe vs. Wade. The righteous right are oblivious to what these regulations will do to women. They only care about “their ideology.” Mark my words this will fail in court as it should. Senator Petersen is exactly right regarding “undue burden.”

For a party (Republican) who rails in town halls for “keeping government out of our lives” and “liberty and freedom” they sure want to “regulate” women back to the dark ages.

With as many important bills to take up the General Assembly wasted their time with a bill that discriminates against women. The resulting legal challenges will strike it down. An embarrassment to Virginia being the only state to pull a “trick” like this. See Senator Petersen’s explanation from his website below or CLICK HERE.

Another good article at The Washington Post CLICK HERE.

While ORS was upside-down the past few days, there has been a lot happening. The most significant vote we had was SB 924, which mandates that first-trimester abortions only be provided in “hospitals.” (I’m summarizing but you can look the content on-line).

The bill started off in the Senate as a bill asking hospitals to enact policies on “infectious disease” and “disaster preparedness.” When it came back from the House, it had been amended to bring first-trimester abortion providers — for the first time — into the Code section regulating hospitals, which means that they will be subject to far more stringent requirements, including obtaining a Certificate of Public Need to operate. To my knowledge, Virginia is the first state in recent years to include these requirements.

There has been a lot that’s been said on this and I won’t add to it here, except to give mechanical details.

The amendment was ruled “germane” by the Senate President, i.e. the Lt. Governor, as it was drawn to the same Code Section as the original bill. As an amendment to a Senate bill, it was then subject to a vote by the full Senate — who split 20-20 on the measure. I voted “no”. The Lt. Governor broke the tie with an “aye” vote and the measure passed.

As it’s already been passed by the House, the amended bill will go straight to the Governor who has stated that he will sign it.

Once the bill becomes law, the state Board of Health will have 280 days to draw up regulations required by the bill. Once those regulations go into effect, they will likely be subject to attack if they create an “undue burden” on the constitutional right of a woman to a first-trimester abortion. Considering the past history of this issue (and the hotly-contested nature of the bill itself), I expect litigation to occur. However, nothing will happen until the actual regulations are issued.

Once it happens, Virginia will be entering uncharted legal territory on an explosive legal and moral issue.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Commentary, Politics, State Politics

Tags: , , ,


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