Pr. William GOP supervisors back Cuccinelli abortion regulation opinion
Prince William County's Republican supervisors have officially endorsed the Virginia attorney general's legal opinion that the state can impose stricter regulations on first-trimester abortions.
During their Tuesday board meeting, the six Republican supervisors approved a resolution that requests that Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R ) directs the Virginia Board of Health and the Virginia Board of Medicine create, publish and enforce regulations for first-trimester abortion facilities and providers. John D. Jenkins and Frank J. Principi, the two Democrats on the board, abstained from voting on the resolution.
"I don't think it is appropriate for the board to act on a state and federal matter," Principi said. "And Prince William doesn't even have a [first-trimester] abortion clinic in the county."
The board's resolution comes almost a month after Manassas City Council took a similar stance supporting Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's August legal opinion that the state can take action to regulate first-trimester providers.
In the Prince William area, there is one first-trimester abortion clinic in Manassas -- Amethyst Health Center for Women. The facility has been open for more than 20 years and sees nearly 1,200 patients annually, National Abortion Federation President Vicki Saporta said.
"I recognize there are no [first-trimester] abortion clinics in Prince William, but it would be ignorant not to recognize that the Manassas facility draws its patients from Prince William County," Prince William Supervisor John T. Stirrup said.
Stirrup, who introduced the resolution, said the board is responsible for the health, welfare and safety of the community. Stirrup said currently there are no sanitary standards at these facilities or assurance that the procedure is performed by a doctor. He said the clinics also don't have to report any complications that arise from abortions.
Saporta said the Manassas clinic is already regulated by certain organizations, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments program and the National Abortion Federation.
Cuccinelli's opinion was a response to requests from Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) and state Sen. Ralph K. Smith (R-Roanoke), who asked whether the state had the authority to regulate the facilities. The opinion applies only to first-trimester abortions, as second- and third-trimester abortions are performed in hospitals. The Board of Health regulated abortion clinics in Virginia from 1981 to 1984, when then-Gov. Charles S. Robb (D) ended the practice, according to the opinion.
| October 26, 2010; 5:29 PM ET
Categories: Jennifer Buske, Ken Cuccinelli, Prince William
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