Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli's Ruling Makes Abortions Safer

Whether you’re prolife or prochoice, how can anyone be opposed to making abortions less dangerous?

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Today’s Washington Post reports that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has issued a legal opinion which gives the state Board of Health the ability to write new regulations that would require abortion clinics to be subject to the same health standards as hospitals. (Currently in Virginia, second- and third-trimester abortions are performed in hospitals, and only first-trimester abortions take place in clinics.) The standards include requiring that clinic doctors have hospital privileges and that counselors have professional training. Abortion rights advocates said the regulations could cause 17 of the state’s 21 abortion clinics to shut down, and here are what some of Cuccinelli’s opponents said to the Post:

"We've been waiting for the attorney general to take on abortion providers, and it looks like this is his first pitch," said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. "These so-called regulations are only an attempt to shut down abortion clinics in the Commonwealth of Virginia."

"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."

I don’t understand. I thought the mantra of prochoice groups is that abortion should be “safe and legal.” If abortion clinics don’t have to meet hospital-type standards, aren’t they unsafe? If you’re getting an abortion, don’t you want your doctor to have hospital privileges in case something goes wrong? And aren’t most counselors professionally trained? (Isn’t professional training what makes a counselor a counselor, and not just a friend with an opinion?) The fact that so many clinics might have a problem meeting hospital standards tells me how many of them are unsafe.

Whether you’re prolife or prochoice, how anyone can be opposed to making abortions less dangerous is beyond me. This proves that to the prochoice crowd, it’s not about protecting women, it’s about attacking “frightening,” “reckless,” and “extreme” Republicans.