Activists call for abortion restrictions

More than 150 anti-abortion activists rallied at Capitol Square on Thursday to urge Gov. Bob McDonnell to support abortion clinic regulations and other “pro-life” bills.

At the rally at the Bell Tower, Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, discussed House Bill 1440, which states that “the life of each human being begins at conception” and that “unborn children have protectable interests in life, health, and well-being.”

“This is recognition that that is a person,” Marshall said.

He said his bill’s goal is to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which gives women the right to have an abortion.

“If we can affirm this principle in one area … [we] can affirm it elsewhere,” Marshall said.

Rita Dunaway of Valley Family Forum, a “traditional values” group in the Shenandoah Valley, said that because the Supreme Court will not recognize an unborn child as a person, states must do so.

“By recognizing the rights of the unborn child, the states can create a counterweight to the mother’s rights,” Dunaway said.

Alveda King, director of African-American outreach for a group called Priests for Life, urged Virginians to support regulating abortion clinics. King said that if Virginia’s 21 clinics were regulated, about 17 would be closed.

Currently, abortion clinics are regulated the same way as offices where patients receive oral or plastic surgery. Abortion opponents want the state to force the facilities to meet hospital-like standards.

That’s the intent of House Bill 1428, sponsored by Delegate Richard Bell, R-Staunton. It would require “all abortion clinics, defined as any facility other than a hospital or an ambulatory surgery center in which 25 or more first-trimester abortions are performed in any 12-month period, to be licensed and regulated by the Board of Health.”

On Wednesday, HB 1428 was assigned to a subcommittee of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions.

Courtney Jones, manager of grassroots organizing for the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, said the cost of meeting the hospital standards would be prohibitive. As a result, she said, many clinics would have to shut down – but not because they are unsafe.

Jones said all of Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities already are clean and sterile. Last year, all members of the General Assembly – including Marshall – were invited to visit the Virginia clinics and see for themselves, Jones said. She said Marshall declined.

However, John Seeds, a doctor with 40 years’ experience in obstetrics and gynecology, questioned the safety of Virginia abortion clinics.

He said Virginia should follow the example of Arizona and South Carolina and enforce safety standards for abortion facilities, such as sanitation and cleanliness.

“The women of the commonwealth expect, assume that the basic safety standards are met when they walk into a clinic for surgical procedures like abortion,” Seeds said. “But in Virginia, when they walk into an abortion clinic, they cannot assume they are safe.”

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has given McDonnell the thumbs-up to sign HB 1428 into law if the General Assembly passes the bill.

“It is my opinion that the commonwealth has the authority to promulgate regulations for facilities in which first-trimester abortions are performed as well as for providers of first-trimester abortions, so long as the regulations adhere to constitutional limitations,” Cuccinelli stated.
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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

Henrico to hold June 8 open house on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold an open house Thursday, June 8 for residents and other members of the public to provide input for a study of the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill areas.

The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

Henrico real estate staying strong despite low inventory

The Henrico real estate market has been relatively strong for the past month, despite a lower amount of inventory, according to data from Long and Foster Real Estate.

In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
> Read more.

State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
> Read more.

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West Broad Village’s Rock & Roll Summer outdoor concert series continues at “The Pad,” adjacent to Aloft Hotel at 3939 Duckling Dr., from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Totally Random, an 80s cover band, will perform. The concert is free and open to the public. Several parking decks feature free parking. The series continues every other Friday through August. For details, visit http://www.shopwestbroadvillage.com or www.facebook.com/WestBroadVillageShopping. Full text

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