By Tony Perkins
How much political cover can $1.7 million buy Planned Parenthood? That’s how much America’s leading abortion provider gave to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s election campaign, and judging by how recklessly he’s working to roll back common-sense regulations on abortion providers, the answer seems to be: quite a lot.
Before McAuliffe was elected, the Virginia General Assembly passed abortion regulations in the wake of revelations about the now infamous Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s “house of horrors.” (Gosnell would ultimately be convicted on three counts of manslaughter and is now serving time.) A lot of state legislatures responded by plugging holes in their statutes recently: In the past four years, 226 pro-life state bills passed — the four best years for pro-life state measures since Roe v. Wade — and that doesn’t even begin to count the number of states where pro-abortion governors and health officials quietly revised their regulations. (Maryland’s Health Department, for example, made it illegal to transport women, mid-abortion, across state lines in order to dodge tighter abortion laws in other states.)
Gov. McAuliffe quickly appointed new members to the Virginia state Board of Health and charged them with re-examining the new regulations — regulations that require abortion providers to meet basic health and safety requirements for ambulatory surgical centers in Virginia. One example is requiring hallways wide enough to move a patient to an ambulance in case of complications. This isn’t a theoretical concern: A woman bled to death in Gosnell’s Philadelphia clinic when EMT’s had to clear cramped and cluttered hallways before wheeling her out.
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Ironically, one of the abortion providers McAuliffe is protecting was charged in Maryland with transporting women across state lines during their abortions to dodge state abortion laws. Dr. Steven Brigham now operates two abortion facilities in Virginia, even though he’s had his license to perform abortions revoked, suspended, or allowed to lapse in multiple states. Brigham has been kicked out of Maryland, Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania, but although his medical license was revoked in Virginia he has been allowed to continue operating abortion facilities in the state.
Gov. McAuliffe claims his pro-abortion policies make him an advocate for women. How many Virginia women will have to die before he shakes off Planned Parenthood’s hush money and stops defending abortionists like Steven Brigham?
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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