In a recent executive order, Bob McDonnell (R-VA) has ordered that all clinics that provide abortions first provide patients with specific information on adoption services. Pamphlets given out must meet certain guidelines and be from state-approved lists of adoption service providers. All health centers must be ready for on-the-spot inspections of their premises, as well as secret-shopper-style visits from undercover representatives of the state government who will report back to a new special council set up by the governor. The council has been given the power to fine non-compliant clinics up to $2000 per instance.
Abortion providers have until July 15 to comply and submit to an inspection of their clinics to assure that they have all documentation in order. If they wish, they may apply for a one-year allowance to figure out how they will comply and begin to make the mandatory referrals to the approved list of adoption agencies.
Abortion rights advocates are already scurrying to prevent new clinic regulations from going into effect. Such regulations now require any clinic that performs more than 5 abortions per month to have hallways at least 5 feet wide, areas outside procedure rooms at a minimum of 8 feet wide, as well as regulations on everything from parking spaces to the numbers of toilets available. Clinic owners say the requirements are burdensome, but supporters of the measure say it’s a matter of having abortion clinics up to the same standards as any other medical clinic in the state.
… oh, wait …
There are no abortion clinic requirements to refer people to specific adoption agencies. It’s just that the President of the United States is disregarding the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in order to force Catholic hospitals, universities, colleges, and charities to pay for contraception (including abortifacient drugs) and sterilization – things that the Church deems mortal sins.
Imagine if Governor McDonnell did enact the regulations requiring adoption referrals. What outrage we’d hear from the very crowd who is currently crowing with delight that Catholics are being denied their religious freedom! After all, the clinic regulations I linked to are the same as required for all outpatient surgical centers in Virginia. (Several articles lie about this, saying that it’s the same as hospitals; this is a misrepresentation of the facts, as these are the regulations for outpatient centers.) What the president is now requiring of Catholic organizations is that they either deny their faith or disobey the government and risk paying fines of thousands of dollars per person no longer covered.
Guess which one we’re picking, sir?