Stand up to
Why Governor Terry McAuliffe is being sued
Over and over again during the nearly two-year process of amending the standards, the administration and Board violated the Administrative Process Act, the state law that provides the framework for regulatory action, the administrative code, and the Governor’s own Executive Order 17 regarding the regulatory review process.
The Legal Action
The administrative appeal was filed with the Henrico County Circut Court on April 20, 2017. Appellants are arguing the Governor’s administration, specifically the Department and Board of Health, violated state law more than twenty times while amending abortion center health and safety standards. The rule of law matters. No unelected regulatory body should be allowed to operate outside the law simply to fulfill a governor’s political debts.
BREAKING! In August 2017, a Henrico Circuit Court judge rejected the McAuliffe administration’s argument that none of the appellants in the case had legal “standing,” or the right to bring suit against the state Board of Health. The case will proceed to debate whether or not the appellant’s arguments have merit. We wait a decision on whether the administration will appeal the Circuit court judge’s opinion.
In 2011, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 924, which classified as a new category of hospital all facilities in which five or more first trimester abortions per month are performed. Following the enactment of initial emergency regulations, the Department and Board of Health followed a standard regulatory process to implement permanent regulations. Those regulations took effect on June 20, 2013.
Over the next several years, public health inspectors discovered hundreds of health and safety violations in what began as Virginia's twenty licensed abortion centers. (Click here to learn more.) Violations included bloody and unsterilized medical equipment, untrained staff, doctors and nurses who didn't re-glove or wash hands between patients, lack of infection control protocols, violations of state and federal drug laws and many more.
During his campaign for Governor, in which he received nearly $2 million in assistance from the abortion industry, Governor Terry McAuliffe promised to undo the health and safety standards. Despite the hundreds of health and safety violations discovered in abortion centers through inspections, the Governor issued Executive Directive 1 on May 12, 2014, which directed the Board to conduct a review of the regulations. At that time, he asked several members of the board to leave early and replaced them with his appointees, including one who is a former board member for Planned Parenthood. The Governor's actions were clearly intended to pay back the abortion industry for its campaign support.
Upon the Governor’s request, the Commissioner of Health began a review of the standards, and at the end of September 2014 announced several areas she believed should be amended. The Board of Health voted on December 4th, 2014 to review six areas recommended for revision by the Commissioner, which were the basis of the Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA), a document that is required by law.
In October 2016, the Board voted to amend over twenty sections of the health and safety standards, far more than were listed in the initial NOIRA adopted in December of 2014. This action, along with more than twenty others taken during the process, violated state law.
On April 20, 2017, four appellants filed an administrative appeal with the Henrico County Circuit Court challenging the actions of the Department and Board of Health. the appeal identifies twenty-two specific violations of Virginia's Administrative Process Act and other state law, as well as Governor McAuliffe's own Executive Order that provides a framework for regulatory action.
Read The Family Foundation of Virginia's entire press release concerning the appeal by clicking here.
Today, there are fourteen abortion centers operating in Virginia. Six have closed since abortion center health and safety standards were implemented. Since 2009, the abortion rate in Virginia has decreased 32 percent.