|Action||Regulations for Licensure of Abortion Facilities|
|Comment Period||Ends 3/29/2013|
The full version of this public comment, while within the maximum allowable word count, was not successfully submitted online, and thus can be found online here: http://www.coalitionforwomenshealth.org/assets/bin/Coalition%20Public%20Comment%20March%2029%202013%20Final%20Longer%20Version.pdf
Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health
March 29, 2013
DearMembers of the Virginia Board of Health,
The Virginia Coalition to Project Women’s Health is a group of physicians and medical professionals, community members and advocates. We write to provide you with helpful information to assist in your consideration of the draft permanent regulations of women’s health care centers that provide first-trimester abortion in Virginia. In this spirit, we have prepared the enclosed packet of materials.
As your fellow public health and consumer colleagues, we believe that Virginia’s Board of Health must be equipped with accurate, sound, clear information to pursue its mission of protecting the health of Virginians, and to do so independently of other government entities, as is the Board’s right and mandate to do. We offer here some helpful facts to counter inaccurate information that has been provided to the Board of Health over the past few months.
But first, some context to explain our materials: On June 15, you and your fellow Board members voted on a number of provisions regarding the draft permanent regulations of women’s health care centers that provide first-trimester abortion. As you know, one month later, on July 16, the office of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a memo to Virginia Health Commissioner, Dr. Karen Remley, stating that the Attorney General would not “certify” your amendments, including a crucial decision to grandfather in existing women’s health care centers instead of subjecting them to inappropriate building construction.
To be blunt, the Board of Health has been led to believe that its decisions of June 15 were not legal. Quite simply, this is not true on any level. The Board acted precisely within its jurisdiction, its mission, and its expertise – independently. The Attorney General and his office have no legal authority to dictate the precise, explicit letter of public health regulations that uphold patient safety in Virginia. The Board acted appropriately.
We have prepared the following documents, and we encourage you to examine all of the direct primary sources offered in these documents – evidence that we are offering you only the facts:
1) Major findings of a statewide poll
Conducted with unquestioned methodology from a nationally reputable polling firm, this poll proves that the people of Virginia overwhelmingly agree argued that the medical regulatory process regarding new regulations on women’s health centers must be based on scientific evidence - not political ideology.
2) Description of the Process by which the federal government incorporates medical expert comment on what procedures can safely be performed in non-inpatient settings
Comparable gynecological procedures are, under the CPT codes, able to be performed in outpatient facilities. We believe this shows concretely, through objective evidence, that many similar procedures are performed under non-hospital conditions and that requiring such is not medically necessary.
3) Fact-checked Attorney General memo of July 16
This provides a deep look at the facts in the memo, along with the links to Virginia law and medical documentation to correct the misinformation in this memo.
We respect the Virginia Board of Health as an independent entity that will continue to act within its responsibility and its mandate to make decisions solely on the basis of evidence-based public health and consideration of patients. This public health board cannot succumb to bullying and intimidation by one government office – the slippery slope and political and ideological intrusion into medical and public health decision-making is far too perilous.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance or provide further information. Thank you for considering these materials.
The Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health
The materials referenced above, while within the maximum allowable word count, will not successfully submit online, and thus can be found online here: http://www.coalitionforwomenshealth.org/assets/bin/Coalition%20Public%20Comment%20March%2029%202013%20Final%20Longer%20Version.pdf