Family Research Council

Testimony of Julia Kiewit
Associate Editor, FRC's Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI)
before the Virginia Board of Health
Friday, June 15, 2012

Let me first thank the Board for providing this opportunity to comment on the important regulations which have been drafted to improve abortion clinic safety in Virginia.

Mr. Chairman [Bruce Edwards] and Members of the Virginia Board of Health, my name is Julia Kiewit, from the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. The Family Research Council is a Christian public policy organization that promotes and defends human life and religious freedom in the United States. I speak today as a representative of Americans, particularly, American women.

FRC adamantly supports stronger regulations of abortion clinics in Virginia. Abortion remains one of the least regulated surgical procedures in the United States, often resulting in unsanitary and unsafe conditions. We have seen real-life examples of this in this past year, most notably, in Pennsylvania and Florida, where women have actually died of botched, unsanitary abortions.

The evidence of unsafe conditions that exist in abortion clinics demonstrates the pressing need for the Commonwealth to enact strong clinic regulations. Among other things, the new regulations call for improved sanitary conditions and the presence of emergency equipment in cases of cardiac arrest, seizure, respiratory distress or other symptoms. They also include commonsense requirements such as requiring a doctor to stay on the premises until the patient is discharged. The proposed regulations under consideration here today seek only to have abortion clinics conform to the same safety requirements that are met by other similarly situated health care facilities. This is eminently reasonable and completely constitutional.

True concern for the life and health of women lies on the side of greater regulation for abortion clinics, which the courts have historically supported. Since Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that the state has "a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other medical procedure, is performed under circumstances that ensure maximum safety for the patient."[1] It is the position of FRC that the proposed Virginia regulations are necessary to ensure maximum safety for women at abortion facilities.

FRC strongly supports Governor McDonnell in his work on securing the implementation of stronger regulations on abortion facilities and thanks him for acting on behalf of women and women's health in the state of Virginia.

[1] Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 150 (1973).