The abortion wars have gotten so bad in Virginia that Dr. Karen Remley, State Health Commissioner, resigned in protest over restrictive new TRAP regulations pushed through by the radical anti-choice wing of the state Republican party.
According to Remley the new regulations for abortion clinics made doing her job impossible. She said the Department of Health had started implementing the new building regulations for abortion clinics, but the new licensing rules, which require clinics meet same architectural standards as new hospitals had “created an environment in which my ability to fulfill my duties is compromised and in good faith I can no longer serve in my role.”
Remley also said in her resignation letter that all 20 abortion facilities in Virginia that would be eligible for licensing have been inspected and will be fully licensed within the next few days.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, one of the forces behind the new laws and the man who most politicized the entire affair, called the resignation a political statement. “People are venting frustration in our direction over a law they don’t like. Even as AG, I have to enforce laws that I don’t like. And we enforce those just as vigorously as those we do like,” he said. ”The rule of law is absolutely critical — and I am sorry she doesn’t appreciate the course this particular decision goes by the board — not by me. She’s expressed her opinion and we have a First Amendment for that, too. So God Bless her.”
The only political move here has Cuccinelli who, with Gov. Bob McDonnell’s blessing, railroaded through regulations designed to make it impossible for women in the state of Virginia to access abortion care. Even worse, he and McGovern so politicized women’s health care in the state that true, non-partisan advocates like Remley simply couldn’t continue working and left. It’s as though the radical anti-choice wing of the conservative movement took a page out of the radical anti-immigrant wing to create the functional equivalent of “self-deportation” for women’s health advocates.
The good news is Remley, under extraordinary circumstances, managed to get all the clinics licensed under the new law. The question is, will her replacement show such dedication? If McDonnell and Cuccinelli have their way, the answer is pretty clearly no.
Photo from jonanthan mcintosh via flickr.