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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.

By Jennifer Buske  | October 26, 2010; 5:29 PM ET
Categories:  Jennifer Buske, Ken Cuccinelli, Prince William  
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Next: Updated: McDonnell simply enjoys Iowa and New Hampshire in the fall, really


Again, Republicans want bigger, more powerful govt.

Posted by: newagent99 | October 27, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats on the PWC BOCS who abstained from voting failed to represent their constituents who elected them into office to represent them. If they did not agree with the Resolution they should have voted with a "no" vote. Instead, they failed to do what they were elected to do.

Posted by: miroffsupportsillegalaliens | October 27, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

What a disappointing blog post. It is rife with grammatical and, more importantly, factual errors.

First, what on earth is a “sanity” standard? Presumably the author meant to write “sanitary”? Notwithstanding the grammatical error, the author should have researched and disputed this blatantly false assertion. The Code and Administrative Code of Virginia prohibit physicians from engaging in any harmful, negligent, or dangerous conduct. See, for example, § 54.1-2915(A) of the Virginia Code. As licensees of the Board of Medicine, all physicians must provide the appropriate standard of care, which includes using sterilized equipment and maintaining a sanitary office.

Second, the author fails to point out that, in addition to the federal regulatory agencies named by Saporta (a list that should also include HIPAA) abortion providers in Virginia are regulated by the Department of Health Professions and Board of Medicine, among others, and are governed by a host of state statutes.

Speaking of state statutes, the blog author also failed to research and dispute the assertion that there is no “assurance that the [first trimester abortion] procedure is performed by a doctor.” I direct the author’s attention to Virginia Code § 18.2-71, § 18.2-71.1, and § 18.2-72. First trimester abortion is only lawful when performed by a physician. Any non-physician that attempts to perform an abortion is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Lastly, the author failed to research or provide any context for the assertion that abortion providers do not have to report complications that arise from abortions. In fact, no physician regulated by the Board of Medicine (including abortion physicians, who are usually OB-GYNs; gastroenterologists; plastic surgeons; etc.) has to report complications arising from any procedure. The burden is on the patient to report any complications. The first trimester abortion procedure is not unique in this instance, yet the author fails to point out that the same is true of all physicians that perform outpatient procedures in their offices.

This blog post is truly a disappointment.

Posted by: raisindelirium | October 27, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

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