The Virginia Board of Health is scheduled to vote today on permanent regulations for abortion providers that are so burdensome and necessary one the original architects of the rules has refused to sign off on them.
Dr. James E. “Jeff” Ferguson II was one of a handful of advisers who helped draft the regulations and has said that the rules the board approved in September are vastly different from the ones submitted for review by officials, including those from the offices of Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II (R) and Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). Ferguson told The Washington Times “I couldn’t support the unnecessary regulations relating to building codes and the like as they didn’t have anything to do with physician care or safety,” he said. “They do not reflect the recommendation from the physicians and the medical community. This is discouraging to me.”
Critics of the new TRAP law argue the regulations are designed simply to drive providers out of business. Rosemary Codding, director of Falls Church Healthcare, which offers cancer screenings, annual care and first-trimester abortions, said the size requirements make the janitorial closet larger than some of their patient rooms. She estimated that the changes could cost from $500,000 to $1 million. She also noted that in 10 years, the facility has had 11,000 abortion-care patients. Four had complications — or 0.00036 percent. “How can that be improved?” she said. “If I spend a million dollars, will that improve that rate?”
That’s exactly the point. It can’t, because the regulations were never intended to in the first place.
If approved, the draft regulations would go through executive branch review and be published in the Virginia Register. A 60-day comment period would follow. The board would then come back to approve the final regulations and the governor would sign off on them.
After final a 30-day period during which the governor can make final decisions, new regulations become effective unless they are suspended or at least 25 people request another public comment period.
Photo from jkbeitz via flickr.