Cuccinelli of VA says state can regulate abortion clinics

Ken Cuccinelli, Attorney General of Virginia, plays hardball on the abortion issue:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has concluded that the state can impose stricter oversight over clinics that perform abortions, a move immediately decried by abortion-rights organizations and others as an attempt to circumvent the General Assembly, which has repeatedly rejected similar measures.
Cuccinelli’s legal opinion empowers the Board of Health, if it chooses, to require the clinics to meet hospital-type standards. Abortion-rights advocates say that could force some clinics to close because they would be unable to afford to meet the new requirements.

Can’t afford it? Really? Shedding no tears here for the truly obscene profits of the abortion industry.

Cuccinelli’s opinion:

“It is my opinion that the Commonwealth has the authority to promulgate regulations for facilities in which first trimester abortions are performed as well as providers of first trimester abortions, so long as the regulations adhere to constitutional limitations,” Cuccinelli (R) wrote in his opinion, released Monday.Cuccinelli declined to be interviewed, but his spokesman said in a statement that the regulations must comply with Roe. v. Wade.

Abortion-rights advocates said they are not surprised by Cuccinelli’s decision and predicted that if the Board of Health acts on his opinion, the regulations could prompt the shutdown of 17 of the state’s 21 clinics performing abortions.

I hope that’s true. But it sounds like the abortion industry trying to scare its very large customer base into political reaction.

That Cuccinelli must be demonized should go without saying:

“It is frightening to think of what Cuccinelli will do next,” said Del. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria), House minority whip. “The public needs to understand how reckless he is. He is not working on what is important to Virginia consumers. Instead, he is focusing on his own extreme ideology.”

Ah yes, that “extreme ideology” which maintains that 1) unborn children ought not be scraped or suctioned from the womb, and 2) abortion outlets out to be held to rigorous safety standards. The Post provides a shocking summary of Cuccinelli’s crimes thus far:

In his seven months in office, Cuccinelli has sued the federal government over new health-care rules; waded into the national immigration debate, saying law enforcement can ask about immigration status; and launched an investigation into whether a former University of Virginia professor and climate scientist manipulated data to reach his conclusions about global warming.

Yeah, baby. That’s what we’re talking about. Let me be the first to say it: Ken Cuccinelli for President in 20-whatever. He’s only 42 so there’s plenty of time.

Back to reality. It will be up to the Board of Health to take action:

It’s unlikely that any changes would occur soon. The 15-member board is appointed by the governor. Eleven board members were named by former governor Timothy M. Kaine (D), and there are four vacancies. [. . .]

In his legal opinion, Cuccinelli concluded that the Board of Health, which regulates hospitals and nursing homes, has the authority to write new regulations requiring that doctors who perform abortions at the clinics hold hospital privileges, counselors have professional training and buildings undergo structural changes. The legal opinion is not binding, and the board must decide how to proceed.

Whatever happened to “safe and legal”?

“The state has long regulated outpatient surgical facilities and personnel to ensure a certain level of protection for patients,” Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein said. “There is no reason to hold facilities providing abortion services to any lesser standard for their patients. Even pharmacies, funeral homes and veterinary clinics are regulated by the state.”

So there’s a chance that Virginia’s abortion shops will someday be forced to raise their safety standards to the level you find when you take your cat to the vet to be spayed.

Because the abortion industry really cares about the welfare of women. See Cassy Fiano for more on that.

Cross-posted at P&P and the Green Room.