The Virginia “War Against Women” today got both a setback and a victory from the Virginia Board of Health. The board voted down the proposed regulation that abortion clinics would have to meet the same building standards as hospitals, a rule that would have effectively shut down all abortion providers in the state. (Of course, Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli, said the rule simply was meant to protect women’s “safety.”) The board also rejected a provision in the regulations that would have allowed the Department of Health to arrive on the premises of an abortion clinic without any notice in order to inspect the premises.
While those actions are better than the horror that the Republican-controlled General Assembly envisioned, new requirements will still allow inspectors to request lists of patients from clinics, remove patients’ medical records from those clinics and access clinic security plans. So, if you are a woman in Virginia who goes to a women’s health clinic simply to inquire about possible medical services, your medical records are not private. In doesn’t matter if you actually want an abortion. Your records can be accessed by the state without your permission.
ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl said, “The Board failed to address dangerous provisions that threaten patient privacy and safety. Allowing government bureaucrats to compile lists of women seeking an abortion and access to their medical records is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to shame and intimidate women out of seeking safe and legal medical care…These ideologically-driven regulations are a serious threat to patient privacy and safety.”
At some point, the Republican men now controlling government in Virginia need to focus on the real problems the state’s residents are struggling with and stop obsessing on women’s ovaries, vaginas, and their lack of those physical attributes.