Thursday, January 31, 2013
News that the Boy Scouts of America is reconsidering its policy to allow openly homosexual scout masters has touched off a firestorm of controversy. Judging by the messages I am receiving from former Eagle Scouts, current scout leaders and parents of children in the Boy Scouts, there are a lot of concerned supporters of Scouting who are furious by this sudden surrender to the cultural left.
After all, just six months ago, an 11-member committee unanimously reaffirmed the current policy as "absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts." I see hints that the Boy Scouts may be hesitating.
Unfortunately, the intolerant left isn't giving up. It has relentlessly hounded major corporate sponsors who fear negative publicity. Last year, Intel, Merck and UPS stopped funding the Boy Scouts. Verizon is under pressure from left-wing activists to do the same.
But here is a key point to consider in this debate. While the focus is on the Boys Scouts of America, the overwhelming majority (69%) of Scout troops are locally chartered by faith-based organizations. In fact, the Mormon Church is the single largest chartering organization, serving more than 420,000 boys. Catholic, Baptist and other evangelical churches serve another 400,000.
This is why the left keeps going after the Boy Scouts. Like the meaning of marriage, it is partly an assault on religious liberty. What about this so-called "compromise" to allow local units to decide their own membership policy? "A house divided against itself cannot stand." It's a ruse designed to undermine the policy and force its eventual collapse.
The militant homosexual movement will never accept it, just as it never accepted the Defense of Marriage Act, a compromise that allowed individual states to define marriage. The radical gay rights crowd, with Obama's support, is now demanding that the Supreme Court strike down DOMA and force same-sex "marriage" on every state of the union.
Most local Boy Scout units, because they are chartered by churches, would likely maintain the existing ban on openly homosexual scout masters. I strongly suspect the gay rights crowd will continue its campaign against corporations that fund the Scouts or it will demand the Scouts expel the "bigots" -- those units that uphold the Scout oath to remain "morally straight."
Family Research Council
The phones are ringing off the wall.
If you've tried to get through to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), you know it's been tough. If you've wanted to express your concern about the BSA abandoning their longstanding policy of safeguarding Scouts by restricting openly homosexual Scout leaders from holding leadership positions, you may have been greeted by an endlessly ringing phone. This may be one instance in which the Boy Scouts were not prepared.
The BSA national leadership were not prepared for the thousands of Americans who were shocked to hear that an organization that could always be counted on for standing for what's right was about to cave-in to homosexual activists and corporations which have been threatening the organization's funding.
For generations, the BSA has shaped our nation's moral character by teaching young men to do their duty to God and country. This is why, when the BSA board begins its annual meeting on Monday of next week, it is so important that you keep the pressure on, to show them how devastating this moral collapse will be for the Scouts and the country.
Together, we can make a difference in turning the tide and keeping an honorable organization on an honorable path.
Family Research Council
As the proud father of two Boy Scouts, this week's news of Scouting's apparent decision to allow each Troop to determine its own policy on admitting homosexuals is dismaying.
Boys should not forcibly be introduced to controversial issues of sexuality. The Boy Scouts, grounded in Judeo-Christian moral teaching, have always argued that the only sexually intimate behavior honoring to God (yes, Scouts still take an oath to "God and country," and mean it) exists between a man and a woman within marriage.
We now know the names of nearly 2,000 men who preyed on boys and teens from 1971 through 1991. Are all homosexuals predators? Of course not. But have predation and molestation in the Scouts been homosexual? Read the names: Undeniably and tragically, yes. This should give any parent pause.
Scouting has, in recent years, adopted rigorous policies to protect boys from these things on theological, practical and moral grounds. Scouting has long professed faith in absolute truth and unchanging moral values. Must we now ask if the pledge to remain "morally straight" and "reverent" still means anything?
Like every father, I want my sons to be around men whose character is above reproach and who model biblical moral virtues. The fathers in our troop do this. May God forbid that it should change.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
You win some, you lose some. I should know, as I experienced both outcomes with legislation in the past week or so. Accordingly, I'd like to take an opportunity to fill you in on what I've been doing in the Senate lately.
Local Property Rights
We'll start with a disappointment: the Democrat-controlled Committee on Local Government (it is one of two committees in the Senate with more Democrats than Republicans), on a party-line vote, killed my Senate Bill 1073, common-sense legislation to help establish a more level playing field for property owners challenging local zoning and land use determinations.
Let's face it: when a homeowner goes up against City council, it doesn't always seem like a fair fight. So if local government is improperly applying a land use ordinance, or if the zoning requirements are inconsistent with state law, it can be very difficult for the property owner to do anything about it—even if they're clearly in the right. Going to court is expensive.
My bill would have allowed courts to award reasonable attorney fees—upon a showing of good cause—to a property owner who prevailed against his or her locality in a zoning or land use case. After all, you have a right to your property. If local government unlawfully restricts that right and you can prove it in court, you ought to be able to recover your costs. Unfortunately, the Committee didn't see it that way.
But I know Virginians of all stripes have a different take—just take a look at the vote on my Virginia Property Rights Amendment, on the ballot last fall—and this issue is not going away. Those who just want the right to use their property in very reasonable ways, deserve a level playing field. It comes down to a very simple principle: if you can prove in court that the government unreasonably abridged your rights, you shouldn't have to be the one footing the bill.
Victims of Domestic Violence
Earlier this month, I wrote you about legislation I'm carrying ensuring the confidentiality of the addresses of concealed carry permit holders who have entered protective orders. Lists of concealed carry permit holders are public records, available at any clerk's office, and some newspapers, seeking to score political points, have taken to publishing these lists—in one case going so far as to create an interactive map showing where gun owners lived.
That's irresponsible under any circumstance, but it's especially worrisome when you consider that some concealed carry permit holders are victims of domestic violence who have moved to escape their abuser, only to find their new address showing up online or in a newspaper. And even without a newspaper printing such a list, if an abuser had a good idea as to the city or county in which their victim lived, they could always go to the courthouse and look through the records themselves.
I don't care what your position is on gun rights: it is absolutely unacceptable for this sort of confidential information to be disclosed. Fortunately, the Senate saw it the same way, voting 39-1 in support of my bill giving those who have taken out a protective order a mechanism by which they can prevent the disclosure of their information to anyone other than the clerk's office and law enforcement.
Virginia allows charter schools, but that's always been more theory than fact. Right now, any charter school has to be approved by the local school division within whose boundaries it would be operating, and as you might imagine, not too many of them have been eager for the competition.
That's unfortunate, as the goal should be to ensure that all children have the opportunity to receive a high quality education, and one way we can do that is by giving families choices and allow them to choose the best educational options for their children. (In a future email, I'll talk more about my efforts to ensure that our public schools are globally competitive.)
As in previous years, I introduced a constitutional amendment to allow the State Board of Education to approve charter applications if a local school board refuses. This year, the Amendment received the strong support of Governor McDonnell, who included the Amendment as part of his "ALL STUDENTS" initiative.
Virginia only has four charter schools; some states have hundreds. If we're serious about providing families with meaningful educational choices, that has to change, especially in light of new studies out of Stanford University showing that charter school students receive the equivalent of about two months' extra education per year in math and reading compared to similarly situated students in the studied states' public schools. That's highly significant, and it's something we need to harness here in Virginia.
We made significant progress this year, with the Amendment reporting out of committee, but the Amendment died on the floor of the Senate on a 20-19 vote. (Constitutional Amendments require 21 votes.)
Unfortunately, Senate Democrats sided with special interest over a much more fundamental one: every child's interest in receiving a high quality education. Incredibly, Senator McEachin (D-Henrico) actually made a point of noting the long waiting list to get into Richmond's sole charter school, insisting that this strong demand was an argument against authorizing more charter schools! Let me tell you, if there's pent up demand, the solution is not to artificially restrict supply.
The good news is that the fight isn't over: there's a similar Amendment pending in the House, and I look forward to taking another crack at the issue when it crosses over to the Senate!
Other Legislative Issues
There's much more to say – on Photo ID (my bill reported out of committee!), the Transportation Lockbox Amendment, and more – but not enough space to say it. I'll pick up the theme again in a few days!
March for Life
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) will make stops in Danville and present a flag to Dexter Adams on the day of his retirement for his 28 years of service at the Chatham Post Office tomorrow, Thursday, January 31st:
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Robert Hurt To Meet With Southern Virginia Home Builders Association
Office Of Congressman Robert Hurt
308 Craghead Street
Robert Hurt To Hold Office Hours
Office Of Congressman Robert Hurt
308 Craghead Street
Robert Hurt To Visit Averett University Health Sciences Program
Averett University Riverview Campus
512 Bridge Street
Robert Hurt To Tour Riverside Roof Truss
733 River Park Drive
Robert Hurt To Tour Lava Enterprises
1428 Goodyear Blvd
Robert Hurt To Present Flag At Chatham Post Office
Chatham Post Office
31 South Main Street
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Yesterday a gang of eight senators -- four Democrats and four Republicans -- announced plans to try yet again to push comprehensive immigration reform through the Senate. The plan is based largely on a 2007 bill that failed after a bi-partisan filibuster.
We don't know much at this point. All the senators offered yesterday was a brief outline of principles. The details will follow later. But as the saying goes, "The devil is in the details."
We do know that this plan includes a "pathway to citizenship" for illegal immigrants in the country. However, the senators claim they are making border security a priority because illegal immigrants would not be allowed to apply for citizenship until the borders are secured and verifiable systems are in place to make sure that foreign visitors are not overstaying their visas. The plan would also require the use of an employer verification system.
Critics are blasting the plan because it essentially grants illegal immigrants an immediate "probationary legal status," allowing them to stay and work in the country as long as they can pass a background check. This is a quasi-amnesty that effectively codifies the controversial executive orders halting deportations that President Obama issued last summer.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been involved in this effort. He called into Rush Limbaugh's show today to stress that he would not back any final bill that did not include strict border security triggers.
Meanwhile, President Obama is unveiling his plans for immigration reform at a rally in Las Vegas today. According to various reports, the president's proposal would have a faster pathway to citizenship because it would not include border security mandates.
Obama's plan is also expected to pander to the homosexual rights crowd by granting green cards to the foreign same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens regardless of the marriage laws of their states.
R-31 (Prince William and Fauquier)
President Obama, Congress, and the Supreme Court can rubberstamp Obamacare. In theory.
But to put this monstrous law into practice, they'll have to go through Virginia first.
And we're not taking this overreach lying down. Virginia never has.
The Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights. The principles that formed our nation were inspired largely by Virginians.
Today, I believe that Virginians must be the ones to lead our nation back from the brink of what our Founders feared most:
An arrogant, out-of-control federal government,
trampling on the rights of the people and of the states.
While the Supreme Court can rule on the law of the land, it's the Constitution that's the Supreme law of the land. And while the Founders might not have foreseen a President who believes in government as much as Barack Obama does, they did foresee the threat of tyranny from a too-powerful federal government.
That's why they created the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution—based on the Virginia Declaration of Rights—to protect the rights of the people and the states.
That's why on February 16, 2010 I asked my fellow members of the House of Delegates to join me in reminding Virginia's Congressional Delegation about the true intent of the 10th Amendment, in summary it stated,
"We, therefore, serve notice to the United States government, as its agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers."
So, as you can see, I'm no Johnny-come-lately when it comes to the 10th Amendment and our state rights.
And Obamacare clearly violates the 10th Amendment.
Like Governor Bob McDonnell, I agree that Obamacare's first mandate—ordering Virginia to set up insurance exchanges that create thousands more patients but not one more doctor to care for them--is where Virginians will make another historic stand for freedom and individual rights.
I'm sponsoring HJ653,calling on the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the Attorney General to oppose any federal mandate or usurpation of state authority that is not clearly articulated by the United States Constitution, beginning with Obamacare.
The House of Delegates Rules Committee will be considering this important resolution Tuesday, January 29th at 4:00 PM. Please contact the members of the rules committee and ask them to support this important resolution.
I'm determined that Virginia will draw the line in the sand to stop Obamacare from being carried out in our state, against our wishes and against our principles.
How about you?
Stand with me as I take a stand to protect our Constitution, the supreme law of the land from those on the left who want to take our property,destroy our rights and run our lives. I will not allow this on my watch.
Today, the national debt is over $16.4 trillion. We need to address the deficit and federal spending, but we also need to reform the way in which Congress acts in addressing the fiscal state of our nation. One way to do this is by introducing accountability of Members of Congress into the budget and spending process. Consistent with these goals, I introduced a bill that addresses the root of the problem – unprecedented spending in Washington.
Earlier this month, I reintroduced the Congressional Accountability Pay Act (H.R.284) to tie Members' salaries to the growth in federal spending - the more we spend, the less we make. For instance, if federal spending increases by 7%, congressional salaries are cut by 7%. This legislation ensures that Members of Congress are held personally accountable via their own paychecks. Just like families and businesses across America, Members of Congress need to be accountable for their fiscal decisions. Giving Members a personal stake in spending the tax dollars of the American people will reduce federal spending and rein in the growth of the national debt.
We must make it a priority to put our nation back on a path of fiscal prosperity. Members of Congress should not be afforded special treatment and be made immune from the economic challenges facing our nation. As public servants, we have much work to do to bring down our national debt and reduce deficit spending. I believe that this bill is an important first step to show that Members of Congress are committed to returning America to a firm fiscal footing.
P.S. - The national debt is more than $52,000 for every American, more than $135,000 for every U.S. household, and is now greater than the size of our economy.
"Instead Raddatz lobbed softball questions at Menendez about Sec. Hillary Clinton's performance during the Benghazi hearings, immigration reform, Chuck Hagel, and the upcoming Senate race in New Jersey.
"If there were even a whisper that a Republican Senator had been sleeping with underage prostitutes, the very first question from Martha Raddatz would have been about those allegations.
"When it surfaces that a Democrat may have done something tawdry, the liberal media suddenly lose their journalistic curiosity.
"The allegations surfaced on Friday, and it was Raddatz's responsibility as a journalist to ask Menendez about them on the record.
"The MRC isn't taking a position on the allegations one way or the other, but the question should have been asked."
L. Brent Bozell III
Founder and President
Media Research Center
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) will make stops in Charlottesville and Bedford tomorrow, Wednesday, January 30th:
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Robert Hurt To Stop By Charlottesville Piano
634 Rio Road West
Robert Hurt To Hold Office Hours
Office Of Congressman Robert Hurt
686 Berkmar Circle
Robert Hurt To Attend Bedford Economic Industry Meeting
Bedford Welcome Center
816 Burks Hill Road
Monday, January 28, 2013
Family Research Council
For decades, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have heroically withstood attacks from homosexual activists. Now, officials from the organization have indicated that this may be about to change. The BSA says that it is "discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation."
"Be prepared." The motto of the venerable organization that has helped develop countless boys into men, preparedness is not only an aspiration, but a descriptor. Thus far they've been prepared to withstand the constant bullying by those who work to bring down all that the millions of dedicated Scouts and Scout leaders stand for.
A departure from their long-held policies would be devastating to an organization that has prided itself on the development of character in boys. In fact, according to a recent Gallup survey, only 42 percent of Americans support changing the policy to allow homosexual scout leaders.
As the BSA board meets next week, it is crucial that they hear from those who stand with them and their current policy regarding homosexuality. Please call the Boy Scouts of America at 972-580-2000 and tell them that you want to see the organization stand firm in its moral values and respect the right of parents to discuss these sexual topics with their children.Please call the Boy Scouts at 972-580-2000
WASHINGTON, D.C. - This afternoon the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) released a statement indicating that the organization is considering ending its longstanding policy on homosexuality. A recent Gallup survey found that only 42 percent of Americans support changing the current policy.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement in response:
"The Boy Scouts of America board would be making a serious mistake to bow to the strong-arm tactics of LGBT activists and open the organization to homosexuality. What has changed in terms of the Boy Scouts' concern for the well-being of the boys under their care? Or is this not about the well-being of the Scouts, but the funding for the organization?
"The Boy Scouts has for decades been a force for moral integrity and leadership in the United States. Sadly, their principled stances have marked them as a target for harassment by homosexual activists and corporations such as UPS which are working to pressure the Boy Scouts into abandoning their historic values.
"The mission of the Boy Scouts is 'to instill values in young people' and 'prepare them to make ethical choices,' and the Scout's oath includes a pledge 'to do my duty to God' and keep himself 'morally straight.' It is entirely reasonable and not at all unusual for those passages to be interpreted as requiring abstinence from homosexual conduct."If the board capitulates to the bullying of homosexual activists, the Boy Scouts' legacy of producing great leaders will become yet another casualty of moral compromise. The Boy Scouts should stand firm in their timeless values and respect the right of parents to discuss these sexual topics with their children," concluded Perkins.
RICHMOND—Today, Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) expressed his deep disappointment with the decision of Senate Democrats to kill SJ 302, an amendment giving charter schools a chance to succeed in Virginia.
"With their vote today, Senate Democrats sided with special interests over a much more fundamental one: every child's interest in receiving a high quality education," said Obenshain.
"Charter schools are an important piece of the educational puzzle, providing new educational opportunities for over 1.5 million students nationwide. They have enjoyed broad bipartisan support in other states, and have been endorsed by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama—but today, Senate Democrats voted in lockstep to ensure that charter schools don't have a fighting chance here in Virginia."
"Incredibly, Senator McEachin made a point of noting the long waiting list to get into Richmond's sole charter school, insisting that this strong demand was an argument against authorizing more charter schools! Let me tell you, if there's pent up demand, the solution is not to artificially restrict supply." said Obenshain, referring to comments made by Senator Donald McEachin (D-Henrico).
Senator Obenshain's Amendment, part of Governor Bob McDonnell's "ALL STUDENTS" education agenda, would have empowered the Virginia Department of Education to authorize charter schools directly. Currently, charter schools in Virginia can only be authorized by their public school division. Unfortunately, few school divisions have been willing to authorize a competing public school, even upon a strong showing of local need and a compelling operating plan.
"Florida has upwards of five hundred charter schools; Virginia has four. With today's vote, Senate Democrats proved that they're not serious about providing families with meaningful educational choices, and that's tragic," said Obenshain.
"Stanford University recently came out with three studies showing that charter school students make the equivalent of an additional two months' gains in math and reading each year," said Obenshain. "We should be champing at the bit for the opportunity to bring those sorts of results to Virginia, but instead we've put up roadblocks each step of the way. This amendment would have eliminated one of those barriers, bringing greater innovation to education in Virginia, but today, the Senate voted to keep it firmly in place."
Charter schools have enjoyed excellent results throughout the country, with more than 5,000 schools in thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia providing quality education for over 1.5 million children. "Over 365,000 students are on charter school waiting lists nationwide," said Obenshain. "People clearly want what charter schools have to offer, but our current policies make the success of charter schools almost impossible."
Charter schools work because they provide the flexibility to meet the needs of students who don't excel in more traditional school settings or who are looking for more specialized instruction. They also serve as an important outlet for children being left behind by other schools," said Obenshain.
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have multiple chartering authorities. The list includes left-leaning states like New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan; "purple" states like Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, and Colorado; and right-leaning states like Utah, Idaho, and South Carolina. "Clearly this has the potential to be a great bipartisan issue," said Obenshain. "In fact, charter schools enjoy support across the spectrum, and have been championed by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama."
"Charter schools are one of the great educational success stories of recent years, giving new hope to students in major cities like Philadelphia, New Orleans, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C.," Obenshain continued. "They are, moreover, a bipartisan success story, the product of Democrats and Republicans working together all across the country to improve our educational system. They have been embraced by conservatives and liberals and people everywhere in between – because they work."
The fifteen states (including D.C.) with multiple authorizers have 80% of the charter schools, leaving the twenty-six with school board authorization only with just 20%. "SJ 302 was about allowing Virginia to begin developing a strong charter school system to benefit students regardless of zip code," Obenshain said. "It is difficult for me to fathom the opposition to this common sense measure, but unfortunately, it's not at all difficult to fathom the cost to our children in the Senate's continued opposition to legislation offering expanded educational opportunity for all Virginia children."
ON THE WEB:
SJ 302: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?131+sum+SJ302
Friday, February 1, 2013
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Rappahannock County Library
4 Library Road
Washington, VA 22747
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council (FRC) and the Thomas More Society (TMS) of Chicago, Illinois, today announced the filing of amicus briefs opposing the lower court decisions in the two marriage cases the U.S. Supreme Court will hear in late March, 2013. Hollingsworth v. Perry comes to the Court out of the Proposition 8 litigation in California. United States v. Windsor involves a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and arose out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Paul B. Linton, J.D., of the Thomas More Society served as counsel of record in the cases. FRC's Chris Gacek, J.D., Ph.D., worked with him on the briefs. Family Research Council played a key role in the passage of DOMA in 1996 and takes a great interest in erroneous and misguided challenges to its constitutionality. FRC also believes that Proposition 8's constitutionality is unassailable.
Chris Gacek, an expert on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, is senior fellow for regulatory affairs at the Family Research Council. Peter Sprigg is senior fellow for policy studies at FRC.
Of the cases FRC President Tony Perkins said:
"The health of our nation's families determines the strength of our nation. Redefining marriage only undermines the societal purpose of marriage which has always been to build healthy families and provide children with both a mom and a dad.
"The Supreme Court must strike down the lower court decisions against the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. DOMA was completely appropriate in 1996, when it passed bipartisanly through Congress and was signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton. The uniformity in federal law it creates by explicitly confirming that 'marriage' would be between one man and one woman for federal purposes ensures equal treatment under law for all Americans. Americans have overwhelmingly decided to uphold this definition of marriage, as a significant majority of states in the U.S. consider marriage to be between one man and one woman.
"Additionally, we believe the people's vote on Proposition 8 should be respected. It is the constitutional right of the people to create their own state laws where the federal Constitution has not already ruled. Activist courts like the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit should not overturn the vote of the people. We hope the Supreme Court will recognize the right of voters to uphold natural marriage as the law of their state," concluded Perkins.
FRC-TMS Amicus brief in United States v. Windsor: http://www.frc.org/legalbrief/amicus-brief-hollingsworth-v-perry
FRC-TMS amicus brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry: http://www.frc.org/legalbrief/amicus-brief-us-v-windsor
Campaign for Working Families
The Pentagon made history last week when Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that he was lifting the ban on women serving in frontline, combat positions. The new policy is not going into effect immediately. It will be phased in, and the services will be permitted to request exemptions for specific posts such as elite units like Navy SEALs or Army Rangers.
Many on the left hailed the decision, saying equality demands equal opportunity for women in the military. President Obama offered his "strong support for this decision," which he described as "another step toward fulfilling our nation's founding ideals of fairness and equality." He went on to say that "every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love."
Polling suggests overwhelming public support for the idea. A Gallup poll released Friday found that nearly three-quarters of the public would vote for a law allowing women to serve in combat. But I wonder how many Americans have really given the idea much thought and serious consideration.
For example, every teenage man must register with the Selective Service within 30 days of his 18th birthday. It is doubtful that a draft is coming. After 9/11 the nation fought wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without a draft. But the law requires that all of our sons register just in case of some catastrophic emergency. The world is a very unpredictable place and becomes more dangerous every day.
If women will now be in frontline combat, is registering our daughters and granddaughters for the draft next? After all, that would be the "equality" that Obama and the feminists say they want. But I doubt if modern feminists and large swaths of the public will be very pleased when their daughters come of age and have to give their contact information to Uncle Sam.
The Family Foundation of Virginia
Today, the public comment period opens on the abortion center health safety standards in the regulatory process.
The standards, passed by the Virginia Board of Health in September, will now go through a 60 day public comment period. After that, the Board will vote again, likely in March, before the standards go back through more review. Currently, emergency health and safety standards similar to the final permanent standards are in effect.
Earlier this year, The Family Foundation examined inspection documents obtained from the Department of Health through the Freedom of Information Act that found over 80 health and safety violations in just nine of Virginia's 20 abortion centers. The violations included bloody examination tables, unsterilized and outdated medical equipment, untrained staff and more. The abortion centers have received licensing under condition of correcting all the violations found.
Today, we are releasing to the media newly discovered violations at other abortion centers inspected since June. Incredibly, even after the discoveries of so many violations at other centers earlier in the year, the abortion industry has not cleaned up its act. At one clinic in Falls Church: "dark reddish substance on the inner surface of the hub where the vacutainer tube for blood collection attached … Staff #8 was asked to observe the inner surface of each vacutainer he/she had designated as clean. Staff #8 stated "That looks like blood. They aren't clean." At the same center, "An observation was conducted in Procedure room #1 at 11:16 a.m., with Staff #8. Staff #8 reported the room was ready for the procedures scheduled for the day. The observation revealed the procedure table had visible dried blood on the metal joints (Bilaterally) that connected the metal leg stirrup/supports."
At the Alexandria abortion center: "On 7/19/12 the following observations were made: the attending physician was sitting at a desk reading the newspaper. He put the paper away when the patient arrived. The physician interviewed the patient. The staff escorted the patient to the exam room. The physician went into the room … The physician put on gloves and preceded to perform a vaginal ultrasound of the patient. Once the procedure had been completed the physician told the patient to get dressed and he would see her outside the exam room … The physician picked up the patient's medical record and began to make notations. He removed a prescription pad from a drawer. At no time was the physician observed washing his hands or performing hand hygiene. The observations were pointed out to the physician who stated, 'I was not doing a procedure only an ultrasound. If I had been doing a procedure I certainly would have washed my hands.' The above information was discussed with the administrator who stated, 'He never washes his hands, he always uses gloves.' When it was pointed out that sometimes the gloves may have holes in them the administrator stated, 'Oh! That is gross!'"
At the Roanoke Medical Center for Women abortion center, the inspection reports found: "Staff used … a sponge to clean the procedure jars and failed to disinfect procedure jars and stoppers between patients … failure to disinfect three (3) of three recovery cots between patients and one (1) of one lab chair. ..observation revealed one of the vacutainer needle holders had visible dark red splatter within the hub, which attached to the needle to draw the patient's blood."
While focusing on the construction standards included in the health and safety standards, the media has almost completely ignored the blood stained and unsterilized equipment, along with all the other health and safety violations. The construction standards are necessary to improve access for emergency personnel and equipment when medical emergencies take place, but the rest of the standards are basic to any medical facility that puts its patients ahead of its profits.
With the discovery of dozens of health and safety violations through the initial announced inspections of abortion centers, the need for these standards became even clearer. The billion dollar abortion industry simply cannot be trusted to put patient safety ahead of profit. While the regulatory process isn't complete, the steps taken to this point have made Virginia's abortion centers a little safer for the women facing unplanned pregnancies who make the unfortunate decision to end the life of their unborn child.