Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell yesterday approved new regulations that "will make it more difficult for clinics providing abortions to operate and potentially close down most of the states 22 facilities" http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/capital-land/2011/12/mcdonnell-approves-sweeping-abortion-changes/2045296#ixzz1i3AQv7Gd.

The new health rules are not onerous: They require that facilities that perform abortion "to comply with standards for surgery centers constructed after 2010 from expanding the width of hallways and the size of operating rooms to providing covered entrances and increasing the number of parking spaces at a facility ... They also will require increased medical staffing and allow for unannounced inspections of the clinics and reviews of individual patients' records" http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/virginia-politics/2011/sep/15/25/pro-choice-anti-abortion-advocates-address-regulat-ar-1312067/.

The necessity of these standards is demonstrated by the news that two physicians who practiced at a now-shuttered abortion clinic in Maryland have been "charged with multiple counts of murder under the states viable fetus law" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2-doctors-accused-of-performing-late-term-abortions-in-md-arrested-and-charged-with-murder/2011/12/30/gIQAfhXOQP_story.html). The Washington Post reports that "the two doctors were indicted by a grand jury after a 16-month investigation (which) began in August 2010 after a botched procedure at Brighams Elkton clinic. An 18-year-old woman who was 21 weeks pregnant had her uterus ruptured and her bowel injured, and rather than call 911, Brigham and Riley drove her to a nearby hospital, where both were uncooperative and Brigham refused to give his name, authorities said. A search of the clinic after the botched abortion revealed a freezer with 35 late-term fetuses inside, including one believed to have been aborted at 36 weeks, authorities said."

Christians need to be involved in all facets of culture: The arts, media, enterprise both large and small, church ministries, charities - and also politics. Under former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the State Board of Health - the majority of whose members are appointed by a sitting governor - would never have approved the new regulations. The nine McDonnell appointees to the Board approved them, to a person. The regulations themselves would never have been enacted unless first passed by socially conservative majorities in the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate. And if Gov. McDonnell and State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had been defeated by their pro-abortion rights opponents in the 2009 election, the regulations would have been stultified in a never-land of litigation and/or inaction.

Politics cannot transform culture nor the hearts of those who compose it. However, politics can encourage public virtue and constrain public evil. That's why elections matter. Bob McDonnell and his pro-life colleagues in Virginia prove it.