Leaders in our region grapple with the debate around Confederate symbols after Charlottesville. We speak to D.C. Councilmember David Grosso (At-large, I), chair of the Education Committee and U.S. Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.)
A new measure in Virginia would treat medical clinics that provide first-trimester abortions the same as hospitals with regard to most state licensing and health regulations. Kojo hears from a women’s healthcare provider in the Commonwealth about the likely impact of the new law, and meets legislators from Maryland who proposed a similar law there.
- Rosemary Codding Director of Patient Services, Falls Church Healthcare Center
- Adelaide Eckardt Member, Maryland House of Delegates (R-Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, and Wicomico Counties)
- Pamela Beidle Member, Maryland House of Delegates (D-Anne Arundel County)
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world. Later in the broadcast, how a law seeking to prevent misrepresentations by some health clinics, a law approved in Baltimore last year, but later rejected by a federal judge, is now seeing new life in New York City. It's a freedom of speech story and much more.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIBut first, a lot of issues can be called hot buttons in American law and politics, but when it comes right down to it, abortion rights might be the strongest contender for the title most fought over and controversial issue. Interestingly enough, since the Supreme Court's Roe v Wade decision in 1973, much of the battle in states has focused not on the medical procedure itself but rather on the details -- the who, where and when. That is, who can get or provide abortions, where they can take place and at what point in a pregnancy.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIRecently, legislators in both Virginia and Maryland decided to take up these issues again. In Virginia, a recently passed law says clinics providing abortions must be regulated and licensed in ways similar to hospitals, and a similar law introduced a few months ago in Maryland is currently working its way through the Health and Government Oversight Committee of the House of Delegates. To get a read on what's next in both jurisdictions, we've invited Rosemary Codding, director of patient services at the Falls Church Healthcare Center. She joins us in studio. Rosemary Codding, welcome.
MS. ROSEMARY CODDINGThank you very much, Kojo.
NNAMDIAs I understand it, the General Assembly in Virginia passed the law, but we're in a waiting period where you're still not exactly sure what the changes will mean for you. I understand the Health Department is working to figure out the practical impact of this law this week.
CODDINGThat's correct. Actually, we'll be seeing public hearings opening up in -- beginning of September. Unfortunately, it's being fast-tracked as an emergency review for regulations when there's been no health care emergency in the state of Virginia around abortion care or around any services that are provided in a doctor's office.
NNAMDIBut because of that fast-tracking, the board will release proposed regulations by September 1st. The public will have two weeks to comment before the board votes on September 15th. After that, the governor, attorney general, few others can make changes before they take effect.
CODDINGThat's my understanding as well, but the usual track is two years, so that there will be at least four or five public hearings around the state where people can talk about these issues.
NNAMDIIn this particular case, however, the laws are supposed to take effect January 1st next year, 2012, correct?
CODDINGThat's correct, on a temporary basis.
NNAMDIAlso now joining us by telephone is Adelaide Eckardt. Adelaide Eckardt serves as -- in the Maryland House of Delegates. She's a Republican representing the eastern shore, officially District 37B. Delegate Eckardt, thank you for joining us.
MS. ADELAIDE ECKARDTThank you very much.
NNAMDIAlso joining us by telephone is Pamela Beidle. She serves in the Maryland House of Delegates. She's a Democrat representing Anne Arundel County, District 32. Delegate Beidle, thank you for joining us.
MS. PAMELA BEIDLEThank you.
NNAMDIDelegate Eckardt, starting with you, tell us about the bill that the two of you have proposed in Annapolis. What would it require, and how similar is it to the bill in neighboring Virginia?
ECKARDTThank you very much. This bill is the result of an incident where a woman was very severely injured in one of our rural counties, and I had been on the side of abortion is legal and safe and had thought that that was what was happening. And when this happened and there was an outcry and then we found out that in fact the physician who had the facilities in Maryland was starting the abortions in New Jersey, was unable to do them there and would then have these women drive down in their cars behind him into Maryland to complete the abortion.
NNAMDIYeah. I remember reading about that case in...
ECKARDTThis -- Mr. Brig -- Dr. Brigham...
ECKARDT...and he in fact was not licensed to practice medicine in Maryland, and we need...
NNAMDIAnd yet he had a clinic in Elkton, correct?
NNAMDIYet he had a clinic in Elkton, Md.
ECKARDTYes. And other clinics apparently in -- he owned in both New Jersey and Maryland, and, of course, in New Jersey, they have stricter licensing and inspections, you know, under their facilities. And his clinic there did not meet even the New Jersey standards for late-term abortions. And so it just raised the whole thing in my mind because, you know, when we used to do years ago the backroom alley abortions with coat hangers, you know, and then when both our country and Maryland in 1992 said that this is a safe protected procedure, I assumed it was.
ECKARDTAnd then, I find out that there have been no regulations promulgated. You know, as you know, abortion is a very toxic word, and I've been trying for years to figure out how we get a commonsense approach, how do we detoxify the issue to be able to look at, you know, what is safe practice for women, how can we -- and work with women who may have experienced trauma from other events in their life to get to the place of an interrupted pregnancy, and then how do we follow those (unintelligible) how do we protect those women. So, to me, it was a health and safety issue, and we were trying to figure out a way to keep it out of the getting into the whole A-word debate and toxicity.
NNAMDIIt is my understanding that the legislation you proposed would regulate abortion...
NNAMDI...providers as surgical centers. Delegate Beidle, how much of your law would be directed at building design, that is the width of doors and hallways, for instance? And how many will be more directly related to health, for instance, the need to have a defibrillator onsite?
BEIDLEIt's actually both of those issues because if an ambulance -- if paramedics can't get a gurney into a building to take out a patient that has become seriously ill, I mean that's, you know, that's the physical side of the building, but at this point, there's no oxygen required. There's no defibrillators. You know, the health and safety issues are not required in these clinics. And, you know, we find out there's, you know, like 34 clinics providing services that have never been inspected, that do not provide health and safety issues. You know, in other outpatient clinics that provide less, very less invasive surgeries, there's much more safety precaution than we're finding in these clinics.
NNAMDIIn case you're just joining us, we're discussing our region's shifting legal sands on abortion, looking at a law passed in Virginia and a proposal in the General Assembly in Maryland. Inviting your calls at 800-433-8850. 800-433-8850. You can go to our website, kojoshow.org. If you'd like to ask a question or make a comment on this issue there, send us a tweet, @kojoshow, or e-mail to email@example.com. Rosemary Codding, you opened your clinic in Falls Church almost 10 years ago. As I understand it, you anticipated the possibility of extra restrictions being placed on you. What does it mean that you therefore built your clinic to meet class II hospital standards?
CODDINGWell, in old days in Virginia, there were a class II hospital standard that was equally applied to all doctors' offices that provided abortion care or provided cardiac care or fixed -- orthopedic fixtures of -- plastic surgeries, all of that. My -- I have no objection whatsoever to having another layer of inspection. It's just that I strongly had issue with targeting just abortion care, which is probably, as the Supreme Court said, actually, I think in 18 -- I mean, 1983 that abortion is provided just as safely in a doctor's office or in a facility as it is in a hospital, because of its low impact on women's health.
NNAMDIGive us some...
ECKARDTBut what do we do about the increasing number of injuries and deaths that have occurred, and that's what we were experiencing here in Maryland. And when we went back and looked at all of those cases -- and they're only the cases that were settled in court -- we don't know how many others, and, you know, how do we know when we look at the regulations and we line them up, and it could have been, you know, overdose of medication, lack of oxygen being available, lack of emergency plan in place.
ECKARDTI'm a nurse. I'm a psychiatric nurse and have been for the past 40 years, so, you know, some of that concerns me because one would assume when you go into a doctor's office or a facility to have an invasive procedure is that that standard of care is assured. And what we're finding -- and I found that it was not which -- that's what distresses me. I mean, how do we then protect? I mean, we talk about hospitals, and (unintelligible) and it's not safe to go in the hospital because of the number of injuries. You know, how do we make an assurance to the public, to anyone seeking an abortion that she will be safe and protected and cared for?
NNAMDIIndeed, yesterday, we did a show on hospital care in the Washington area and the kinds of proposals that are being made to avoid people getting hospital-acquired infections and the like.
NNAMDIToday, we're talking about the provision of abortion and regulations around that in both states of Maryland and Virginia. Our guests are Delegate Adelaide Eckardt, who serves in the Maryland House of Delegates. She's a Republican representing the eastern shore. And Delegate Pamela Beidle, who represents the Anne Arundel County in the Maryland General Assembly. Also in studio with us is Rosemary Codding, director of patient services at the Falls Church Healthcare Center. And, Rosemary Codding, can you give us some specifics. What types of considerations and costs that you -- did you include at the time of the building of your facility that were not legally necessary at that time?
CODDINGI guess the biggest cost was understanding exactly how patients would move through our doctor's office for any kind of additional surgery procedures, such as the colposcopy, the -- an abortion, a D&C after a miscarriage and trying to understand how they can do that with the greatest of ease. And so we looked at, as I had mentioned, the old class II hospitals and felt that those were some good guidelines for us. We in Virginia have not had the problems that Maryland has had.
BEIDLEYeah. I mean...
CODDINGAnd so it's sort of comparing apples and oranges...
CODDING...we've had additional issues with -- I've heard that there was a reported death from a cardiologist who did a stress test. If they're subject to the same kind of regulations for protection for the health of the Virginians, I'm certainly in support of that.
BEIDLECan I add that we haven't had class II regulation. We've had no regulation.
BEIDLEAnd there's 15 other states that have required regulation for abortion centers, and Maryland has nothing.
NNAMDIIndeed, I have to remind our listeners here or to tell you for the first time that when we're talking to the delegates from Maryland, they are talking about all abortions and no regulations. When we're talking to Rosemary Codding, we're only talking about the provision of first-term abortions, is that correct?
NNAMDIIn Maryland until the past decade or so, or anywhere for that matter, if anyone said abortion, by definition, they were talking about a surgical procedure, but that's no longer the case. Now a pregnancy can be terminated pharmaceutically by using the drug once known as RU-486. How, if at all, do your bill -- does your bill affect this, delegates Eckardt and Beidle, starting with you, Delegate Eckardt.
ECKARDTFirst of all, we just say in the bill that they would be included as outpatient surgical, ambulatory care facilities, primarily surgical facilities, and we don't -- haven't addressed it any further than that. I think we were looking at basic -- you know, if there's a surgical procedure, then you need to have the standards of care, standard of practice in place to be able to anticipate any kind of untoward bleeding, infection, lack of a successful procedure, you know, allergic reaction, overdose of medication, you know?
ECKARDTIt's the -- you know, there have been some cases where it was just a physician alone with the receptionist in the facility, you know, and that certainly doesn't lead to safety in my mind.
NNAMDIDelegate Beidle, care to add anything to that?
BEIDLEWell, in our bill, we particularly address the surgical services, including a uterine turret or endoscopic, so the drug that you're referring to would not be included in the bill.
NNAMDIIn the state of Virginia, Rosemary Codding, what is your understanding about how that legislation would affect the use of RU-486?
CODDINGWell, I'm hopeful that the Board of Health will certainly understand, just like the Maryland legislators are understanding, that it's a totally different type of procedure. However, the way the bill is worded now, or the legislation is worded now, that does not make a separation between medical treatment using medicines and a surgical treatment. And that, of course, is an immense oversight, possibly, or by intention, more probably.
NNAMDIWe've got to take a short break. When we come back, we will continue to discuss the shifting sands around abortion in Maryland and Virginia, with a law in Virginia and a proposal in the state of Maryland. If you have already called, stay on the line. We will get to your call. If you'd like to call now, the number is 800-433-8850. Or if you'd like to go to our website, join the conversation there, it's kojoshow.org. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. We're discussing what we're calling the shifting legal sands around abortion in the Washington area, with regulations in the Commonwealth of Virginia that are likely to take effect in January of 2012, and a proposal in the General Assembly in Maryland. We're talking with Rosemary Codding, director of patient services at the Falls Church Healthcare Center. Delegate Adelaide Eckhardt serves in the Maryland House of Delegates.
NNAMDIShe's a Republican representing the Eastern Shore, District 37B. And Delegate Pamela Beidle is also in the Maryland House of Delegates, a Democrat representing District 32 in Anne Arundel County. Taking your calls at 800-433-8850. Here is Harry in Fairfax, Va. Harry, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
HARRYThank you very much. I have a question about how the safety of a first trimester abortion compares with other outpatient procedures. What are the percentages of problems following cosmetic surgery, arthroscopic surgery, laser surgery, dental surgery compared to the percentage of problems following first trimester abortions?
NNAMDII think that's an issue that Rosemary Codding would like to address. And if you don't mind, Harry, I will add to that a question, because Rosemary Codding made reference to this before. Abortion rights activists often talk about so-called TRAP laws, TRAP standing for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Do you see the proposal in Virginia as a TRAP law because, as Harry's question implies, it is directed only at abortion providers and not any other kind of surgical procedure?
CODDINGI think if we're really gonna be honest with ourselves in the political arena, we have to recognize that this is purely and simply a TRAP law. It is a targeted regulation for a service that is -- has extreme safety. The Supreme Court has recognized it as supreme safety, and I would love to have the figures that Harry is mentioning. I do know, as I had mentioned before, that there was a death at -- during a stress test at a cardiologist's. I would love to have those figures, and I think the Virginia Department of Health has those figures. And I hope they use them to develop these regulations. Thanks for the question, Harry.
NNAMDIDelegates Beidle and Eckhardt, how about your proposed legislation? Do you think it would be fair for abortion providers to label that a TRAP law? Or let me put it another way. How is the bill you are proposing not targeting abortion providers?
ECKARDTFirst, I'd like to say that Maryland has no statistics for Harry. We keep no records in Maryland of abortions. So we only know what we have found from the lawsuits in civil court, which are very, very disturbing. And so, Harry, we can't answer your question because Maryland doesn't keep the data.
NNAMDIIn terms of whether your bill is proposing -- that the bill that you are proposing is targeting abortion providers, would it be fair to say that it is targeting abortion providers?
ECKARDTWe were targeting where the severe injury or death or severe injury to the mother was. That's what we were concerned about. I'm not really familiar with the TRAP laws per se. This, just as I said, came out of some literature that -- on cases where people -- we had a death last year. We had a death the previous year. We had an incident again of this severe mutilation of this one woman in this other situation. And I think it was the whole practice, that it was unregulated, that it took years to go after the physician who was not even licensed to practice, that it was crossing state lines. There were a lot of issues and -- so in our mind, it was -- there is no regulation. We need to address, you know, some regulation.
ECKARDTAnd when we looked at what was available in other states, you know, this seemed to be a logical route to go as licensing outpatient surgery, you know, with that kind of an intrusive procedure.
NNAMDIDelegate Beidle, some Marylanders may be surprised to see a Democrat co-sponsoring this legislation. What have you been hearing from your constituents? Have you heard support? Or have you been seeing a backlash?
BEIDLEI have heard very little from my constituents, and yet I've put it in a newsletter that goes out to 7,500 people multiple times. So I think my constituents think it's just common sense to have some health care -- health and safety procedures in the law.
ECKARDTI have found, as I've put it out to folks -- and I've had a neonatal nurse practitioner who's working on our doctor -- working alongside with me, and she said she had no idea there was no regulation of any of the procedures and no information. And I think that's what is just so mind-boggling. You know, we regulate and count almost everything else. You have to have parental permission to tan in Maryland. We count our chickens. We count our eggs. We count our cigarettes, our bottles of beer, our alcohol, our animals.
ECKARDTI mean -- and we do all kinds of things. I'm in a rural area that it just seems so grossly, almost like an area of neglect, that we don't adequately care and nurture our women, who have had to be in a situation where this occurs. If abortion is to be safe and legal, then let's make sure it's safe.
NNAMDIOkay, Harry. Thank you very much for your call. We move on to Stephanie in Washington, D.C. Stephanie, you are on the air. Go ahead, please.
STEPHANIEYes. Good morning. Or, I guess, it's afternoon.
STEPHANIEI have three quick points. First of all, I'm a little surprised at the somewhat one-sided nature of the program. My second comment is that with respect to the state of Maryland, I just wanted to point out that even your representatives have pointed out that you don't have any statistics to offer to Harry, so I presume you don't have any statistic to offer for, you know, injuries or deaths in the dentist's office. And it does really feel like another continuation of the seemingly never-ending war on women with respect to abortion and reproductive health care service.
NNAMDIYour other two points?
ECKARDTWe have war on women if we are not assuring that they're safe and nurtured. I mean, I've worked with Healthy Families, and
STEPHANIEWell, I don't...
ECKARDT...and you know, being able to educate folks about, you know, being in a healthy environment with touch points and -- touch points, meaning how we help moms and infants bond, how we help families to be supportive. And, you know, trauma-informed care is something that I've dealt with because we know that many individuals who have long-term illness, either mental illness or physical illness, have been severely abused.
ECKARDTAnd if there are folks who are being abused, who are subject, you know, to an abortion procedure, then how do we know that they're channeled into the appropriate services? So there are just a whole lot of issues. How does it contribute to infant mortality? I'm just saying that if it's safe, then let's help our young women and help our families be safe and protected.
NNAMDIHere's Rosemary Codding.
CODDINGOne of my concerns, delegates -- and thank you, Stephanie, for the question -- is that I know that public health in Virginia is very, very challenged financially now.
ECKARDTAmen. Same here.
CODDINGAnd I'm sure it's the case in Maryland. And so I'm very hopeful that both of our states can understand that any new layer of paperwork requires additional expenses for the practitioner, for the practice, for the state and for its agencies. And all of that affects the cost of health care, whether for the insured or the private-pay patient. I think if government's gonna supply inspectors, equipment or even develop or monitor new regulations, the taxpayers' patients experiences and even greater – will be an even greater financial burden, like sort of a value added tax. There would be no doubt medical care costs would have to be increased across the full spectrum of medical services and adversely affect wellness in Virginia and possibly as well in Maryland.
NNAMDIWell, let me compare again...
ECKARDTWell, we have...
NNAMDI...even though we're clear that there are different political cultures, if you will, in the Commonwealth of Virginia and in the state of Maryland, but in Virginia, after the first trimester, all abortions must take place in hospitals and during the third trimester, abortions are banned, except in cases of life or health endangerment. In Maryland, the laws are clearly less strict. But, Delegates Beidle and Eckardt, are you interested in tightening the laws regarding abortions in any other ways?
ECKARDTMy concern is the safety. If women are, you know, if abortion is safe and legal, which we've determined it to be, then it'd be safe and it'd be protected. And I might add that as a nurse whose worked in facilities, both outpatient and inpatient, I might say to you that standards of practice, standards of payer, if they are voluntarily offered and put in place by even somebody else, that would have been better than nothing, you know? Right now, the law is violent. And there is no way it -- I mean, it's hard to track when a woman has sudden untoward, you know, experience.
NNAMDISo you're saying that, at this point, that safety issue is...
ECKARDTThat we've put -- we just put...
NNAMDI...the only one of concern to you, that you're not looking at tightening the laws in any other ways?
ECKARDTNot from this legislation. This is my focus on this -- this particular legislation. And I would say to you we just are requiring dental offices to put in free expensive equipment to deal with mercury in amalgam, and that's been mandated. So I guess, I think that, you know, we need to have appropriate services and protections both for the caregivers and for the individuals who are having procedures done in Maryland, just like anything else.
BEIDLEYou know, we're talking to someone in Virginia who has voluntarily put regulation...
BEIDLE...in their own clinic. Where in Maryland, we're talking about no regulation whatsoever. We have 34 clinics that have never, ever been inspected. You know, we have serious deaths, where (unintelligible)...
CODDINGAnd I seriously doubt that. I am sorry to interrupt, but I seriously doubt that. I -- maybe not by the state, but of course, they may accept insurance, and they are inspected then by the third party payers. They probably have CLIA labs, and they are inspected by the CLIA labs. It's another layer of regulation. What I'd love to see is Maryland try to coordinate where the inspections are, and I'm sure the board of health is also inspecting and looking at doctors' licenses and working with that. So I think -- I'm sorry to interrupt...
ECKARDTBut we didn't...
CODDING...but I believe that there are inspections going on in those centers just like they are here in our Virginia centers.
ECKARDTOkay. We had involved the Health Department early on. I talked to them, first and foremost, of so -- you know, about this. And, in fact, that's when everybody discovered there were no promulgated regulations from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. And so it is very difficult to get the kind of information and to be able to track it, except as the -- you know, the court records, you know, from cases where there have been suits, and that's where we've gotten the information that we have. Somebody had collected that. And that was the concern, you know? Even the Health Department went on record in the paper and said that they were concerned.
NNAMDIOn to -- we need to go on to the telephones -- Sally in Shady Side, Md. Sally, you are on the air. Go ahead, please.
SALLYHi there. Thanks for taking my call. I'm very concerned that this bill in Maryland, if I'm getting it right, according to these women, was initiated partly based on their concern over civil lawsuits against clinics. How do they know if...
NNAMDIWell, no. In the beginning of the conversation, there was a specific incident mentioned in the State of Maryland where a doctor who had a practice in New Jersey and who was not licensed to practice...
NNAMDI...in Maryland had a situation in which a woman got severely ill and it was discovered that he was not licensed to practice in Maryland and was not being regulated in Maryland. But go ahead, please.
SALLYWell, I did also hear Beidle, I believe, is her name, say that there are a lot of civil lawsuits in Maryland against clinics.
NNAMDIOkay. Go ahead.
BEIDLE...did say there was a lot. With the information that we've got and the statistics that we do have are only as a result of the injury suits that have been filed. That's the only way we can get these.
SALLYOkay. How do you know that these injury suits are valid? I mean, we all know that people do file civil lawsuits that have no...
BEIDLEIn the case of a person in my district, the doctor has now lost his license. He injured a number of women, but the one that died was because he double-dosed her anesthesia. He had no one in the clinic with him.
SALLYAll right. That's one incident.
BEIDLEWell, that was one. We happen to have...
SALLYI suppose, you know, if...
BEIDLEHe had seven before he lost his...
NNAMDIOne at a time, please.
BEIDLEHe had seven incidences before he lost his license.
NNAMDIOkay. Sally, now, your turn.
SALLYI guess, I suppose, just statistically speaking, why don't we look at the number of lawsuits against hospitals from people that get, you know, sick in hospitals or problems in hospitals or people who get...
BEIDLEWe are doing that. We are doing that.
NNAMDIWell, actually, Sally, that was the conversation we had yesterday and there are a number of groups...
NNAMDI...and non-profits included, that are, in fact, looking at that and seeking to establish national standards for hospitals so that those things don't happen in hospitals anymore.
BEIDLERight. I've put in a bill a number of years ago in Maryland called a Never Events bill, which would make sure that hospitals are not reimbursed for incidents that occur, that were "accidents" in their facilities. And that's one of the things that our cost review commission and our hospital care commission has already been looking at and instituting as a result of that. So we've been looking at all of those incidents where people may be injured or mistakes are happening in all -- whether it's outpatient in a number of areas. The problem is...
BEIDLE...in Maryland, we don't have that same effort of protection for folks who are, you know, going in for abortion service.
NNAMDISally, thank you for your call. I'd like to get back to Virginia for a minute here, Rosemary Codding. Laws similar to Virginia's now exists in more than 20 other states. What do you know about how clinics in those states were impacted by those laws?
CODDINGI do know that one of the models is South Carolina. There are some very unique regulations there. I don't know their political history either. So I can only speak from Virginia and looking at a South Carolina regulation packet. I assume that that's what also Maryland legislators are looking at.
CODDINGAnd it is always strange to me that they say that these -- we, states, are all independent and yet, I think, there is a concerted effort across all of the states, as you've pointed out, Kojo, that the same exact examples are being used to promulgate these regulations as I envisioned them as TRAP laws.
CODDINGVirginia has a large group of regulations already, over -- probably over 150 different codes that deal with office practices, office procedures and, specifically, abortions. We have a very strong regulation there. But in the South Carolina, one of the things that I find amusing is that -- and, of course, our Atty. Gen. Cuccinelli, well, is looking at this -- is that the air exchange needs to be six times air exchange an hour. And yet Cuccinelli is using my tax dollars to put a case through for the federal government to change the emissions laws from the auto industry, also trying to fight against EPA's rulings that there is global warming, and yet he wants a better quality of air in my doctor's office.
NNAMDIYou find that ironic. Here is Beth in Washington, D.C. Beth, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
BETHYes. I believe this whole broadcast with -- is anti-woman. I think that there must be a much stronger presence on your show against the anti-woman campaign, not just in Virginia, not just in Maryland, but in the entire United States. Please remind your viewers that abortion is legal. Chipping away at it with these rules, these subversions to a woman's right to have her own body is not acceptable. And we must never forget that.
NNAMDIOkay, Beth. I have another caller that I'd like for you to listen to, so I'm gonna put you on hold while we hear from Mary in Gaithersburg, Md. Mary, you are on the air. Go ahead, please.
MARYHi, Kojo. Thanks for having me on the air. Actually I just wanted to state a concern, which it sounds like all of this is just about regulating, you know, this second-type hospitals for abortion. And myself, I had an abortion long ago. Two children I was raising completely on my own, barely making any money. I couldn't even imagine adding another child to that -- however, what really -- and I'm for, evidently, abortion -- but what really concerns me is I assumed that there were laws and regulations that would have protected me at the time.
MARYAnd my real concern is there must be many parents who are uninsured, who have small, you know, young girls who are going through this, and they have no clue. So it just seems to me that it's just common sense to have things in place to protect women. It doesn't sound like this is against women.
MARYIt's just -- it's helping them.
MARYAnd it's ridiculous...
NNAMDIOkay. Mary, thank you very much for your call. Allow me to return to Beth. Beth, Mary says she is a pro-abortion caller, and she feels that this is about safety. What do you think?
BETHI believe that women and all patients should be protected. But when I see the same regulations against LASIK eye surgery, against cosmetic surgery, against a dental surgery, then I will see that it's not an anti-woman measurement.
BETHBut until that time, it is singling women and the right that women have to control their own bodies.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call, Beth.
ECKARDTI hear you. And they are all procedures I know that are looked at with regulations in Maryland. I sit on what's called the AELR Committee, which is the Administrative, Executive, Legislative Review Committee. So I get to look at all the regulations that are coming through. And let me tell you, we are regulated up the kazoo. But there is absolute silence when it comes to these procedures.
NNAMDIAfraid we are running out of time. Very quickly, Rosemary Codding, the Virginia Health Department is responsible for drawing up rules to determine exactly what it means for an abortion clinic to be regulated like a hospital, and those rules have to be approved by the board of health. What are you expecting? We recently read in the paper that Gov. McDonnell has named six of the board's 14 members. He will fill the 15th member vacancy in the current -- coming months and replace another member whose term ends June 30. And so, his appointments would become the majority, outnumbering those chosen by the former mayor. Does that shape your expectations about what's likely to happen here?
CODDINGIt does. It sort of underscores that the tradition of great professionalism in the board of medicine and board of health may be politically subverted, and this is a tremendous concern to me.
NNAMDIDo you think clinics in Virginia will have to close, and what do you think will happen to your clinic?
CODDINGI think we will persevere and we're gonna persevere in spite of TRAP laws. And we are going to find a way that women can be served. Women have an opportunity and a responsibility to speak out politically as well as to select their health care providers. And I'm hopeful that in the public hearings in September, they will come out in droves to say that they want good healthy regulations for all medical services they receive as a family member or for their husband or their partner as well, and to ignore TRAP legislation.
NNAMDIDelegate Beidle, what's the next step with your bill?
BEIDLEWe need to hopefully have it come out of our committee into the House floor.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for joining us. Delegate Pamela Beidle serves in the Maryland House of Delegates. She's a Democrat representing District 32, Anne Arundel County. Thank you for joining us.
NNAMDIDelegate Adelaide Eckardt serves in the House of Delegates in Maryland. She represents District 37B, the Eastern Shore. It includes Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot and Wicomico counties. Thank you for joining us.
ECKARDTThank you very much for the opportunity.
NNAMDIRosemary Codding is the director of patient services at the Falls Church Healthcare Center. Rosemary Codding, so good to see you.
CODDINGThank you. It's been an honor to meet you. I'm star-struck (laugh)
NNAMDIBy whom? Where's the star? We're gonna take a short break. When we come back, the situation in New York City, that's a free speech issue having to do with anti-abortion counseling. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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