|Action||Regulations for Licensure of Abortion Facilities|
|Comment Period||Ends 3/29/2013|
As a woman and a licensed professional engineer who spent a 16-year career interpreting and applying design and construction codes across the Commonwealth of Virginia, I was dismayed to learn of the portion of SB 924 that reclassified many women's health clinics in Virginia as hospitals. I was even more dismayed by the bullying that was applied by the Attorney General to the Department of Health, placing politics above the recommendations of my state's top medical professionals. Abortion is legal, and these regulations attempting to make it harder for clinics to provide abortion services will only hurt Virginia's women who seek all kinds of other health care services in the same clinics. Extensive, burdensome requirements for clinic buildings that are unrelated to the services health centers provide and have no proven medical benefit will reduce or eliminate patient access to health care. The regulations will increase the financial hurdles to health care for patients, with no proven medical benefit to patients. Women need more access to affordable, high quality health care, not less.
If regulations placed on women's health centers are based upon evidence-based medical practices that advance the public health, then women in the Commonwealth will be able to maintain access to vital health care from trusted medical providers. Medically inappropriate and unnecessarily burdensome regulations would restrict access to essential health care services for the women of Virginia and further marginalize young, low-income, uninsured and minority women by decreasing their health care options. The high standard of care provided by women's health centers is proven by their impressive safety record. Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures. Overregulation will limit access to a wide range of preventive reproductive health care services provided by women's health clinics, including life-saving cancer screenings, family planning, and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment.
It is my hope that the regulations will be amended to be based purely on medicine and science and should not impede women's access to essential health care. Politics has no place in the doctor's office, and political issues should not drive unnecessary and burdensome regulations for the design of those offices either.