[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
One of the big stories in my state this morning is that the Virginia Assembly just passed a law stating that doctor’s offices where abortions are regularly performed would be considered to be hospitals, and subject to the same regulatory requirements. You have to think that this was either, prompted by or capitalizing on Kermit Gosnell scandal that rocked Philadelphia not too long ago. Now a lot of you know I work for a health care provider, but bluntly I don’t work for hospitals and therefore I am not terribly familiar with their regulatory requirements, except to know that Virginia is on the lower end of regulatory control—especially compared to its neighbor, the People’s Republic of Maryland. Still you can read the regulations that apply to hospitals, here. I haven’t read every word, but most of it strikes me as non-controversial, requiring hallways to be sufficiently wide for safety purposes, requiring certain protocols for the sterilization of equipment, and so on. And it is not a given that the regulations will be exactly as harsh as it is for hospitals. Libertarian types might object to much of it and I myself have gone on record generally preferring a liability approach to regulation—that is, making sure that they pay when something goes wrong, instead of big government dictating every detail of your practices. But the critical issue is, is whether there is a reason why abortion should not be subject to the same regulation.
For instance, take this regulation on sterilization:
12VAC5-410-250. Sterile supply service.
A. Each hospital shall operate a sterile supply service or provide for the processing, sterilizing, storing, and dispensing of clean and sterile supplies and equipment.
B. Facilities shall be provided for the cleaning, preparation, sterilizing, aeration, storage and dispensing of supplies and equipment for patient care.
C. Areas for the processing of clean and soiled supplies and equipment shall be separated by physical barriers.
D. Written procedures shall be established subject to the approval of the Infection Control Committee for all sterile supply service functions including:
1. Procedures for all sterilizing and for the disposal of wastes and contaminated supplies; and
2. Procedures for the safety of personnel and patients.
So they aren’t really giving them a blow-by-blow on what to do, but instead they are mostly just saying, “come up with procedures.” And, um, shouldn’t they be doing that anyway? And if you are libertarian enough to find that objectionable, then that objection applies to the entire regulatory scheme, and not just in its application to abortion clinics.
But of course this doesn’t stop the pro-choice forces from crying foul. In an AP story that is remarkably entitled “Va. OKs bill to likely close most abortion clinics” (yeah, no bias there), the author starts right off by saying:
Virginia took a big step Thursday toward eliminating most of the state’s 21 abortion clinics, approving a bill that would likely make rules so strict the medical centers would be forced to close, Democrats and abortion rights supporters said.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican and Catholic, supports the measure and when he signs it into law, Virginia will become the first state to require clinics that provide first-trimester abortions to meet the same standards as hospitals. The requirements could include anything from expensive structural changes like widening hallways to increased training and mandatory equipment the clinics currently don’t have.
(emphasis added.) So did you catch that? This is the Democrats’ spin on the issue, and that is put in the lede—indeed is reflected in the very title of the piece. Sure, what media bias?
And what precisely does the fact he is a Catholic have to do with it? John Kerry and Ted Kennedy are/were Catholics, too. That is inappropriate in a news story and smacks of the old know-nothing conspiracy theories that American Catholics would simply do whatever the pope told them. That bigotry should have been dead and buried with the Kennedy Presidency, if not sooner.