|Action||Regulations for Licensure of Abortion Facilities|
|Comment Period||Ends 3/29/2013|
Women's health care in Virginia is threatened by the new regulations including unnecesary architectural restrictions that do nothing to enhance patient safety. In addition to providing safe, legal abortion, most of these clinics provide other essential women's health services including contraception and screening for sexually transmitted inections and cervical cancer, and meet the needs of many women who are otherwise disenfranchised from the health system. We have great concerns about the relationship between restrictions that will force clinics to close and increases in unsafe abortions provided by untrained personnel to women who will no longer have access to obtain a safe, legal abortion. Additional concerns exist over the societal effects of unintended pregnancies.
The best way to reduce abortions is not to force clinics to close unnecessarily. Rather, expansion of access to basic health care services for reproductive aged women including affordable, effective contraception will be the path to reducing unintended pregnancies and ultimately abortions.
Lastly, it is not the role of government to make health care decisions. This responsibility rests firmly in the physician's office, clinic, or hospital, in a trusting relationship between provider and patient, and includes decisions on which tests are medically appropriate or indicated and which medical procedures may be performed. I urge the board of health to reconsider the implementation of new regulations.
Christian A. Chisholm, MD