Strongly oppose new "Regulations for Licensure of Abortion Facilities"
I strongly urge you to oppose the new "Regulations for Licensure of Abortion Facilities," and amend them to ensure that abortions remain avaiable and safe, and that the rules evenly applied, and consistent with patient privacy and confidentiality as required by HIPPA.
The US Supreme Court has affirmed that abortion is a legal medical procedure. Regulations targeted solely at this specific procedure are only intended to prevent access and are unconstitutional. If legislators and The Board of Health truly felt that these new requirements were the only way to protect the health and safety of the men and women of the Commonwealth then those regulations should apply to all other ambulatory surgical facilities as well.
These regulations are in conflict with other regulations. When the Board of Health has previously regulated health care facilities, new regulations have applied only to new construction and additions, alterations or repairs to existing buildings. This means that existing facilities, which were not planning on undergoing significant construction or renovation, were not required to meet new building standards. Specific violations and legitimate safety concerns should be handled by the Board under existing regulations.
These new regulations are a huge misue of power by legistlors and removed from facts about medial risk. First trimester abortions are some of the safest outpatient procedures being preformed in Virginia. These new regulations are meant to make abortion services unavailable in the Commonwealth, under the guise of "helping" women. They will have the opposite effect. Clinics that provide abortion services also provide affordable care for cancer screenings, gynecological exams, prenatal care, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, family planning, and even adoptions. The women of Virginia need more access to these services, not less. Imposing these regulations will further marginalize young, low-income, uninsured and minority women by decreasing their access to affordable health care options.
Regulations should not be used as a political weapon. It is never appropriate to substitute religious and political feelings for medical knowledge. We should stick to science-based regulations. Virginia has a long history of separating our laws governming the general population from the religion of a few or even many.
I understand that the right to abortion is not supported by everyone. However, the legality of this medical procedure is not the issue here. I appeal to you to ignore outside political influences and urge you to make an impartial, professional decision based on sound scientific information. The integrity of the Board is at stake.