Virginia Board of Health
2:40 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Abortion Clinic Regulations

This Friday,  April 12, Virginia’s Board of Health meets again to vote on controversial new rules that would force women’s health clinics that provide abortions to meet standards written for hospitals – or to close. 

Now, a candidate for lieutenant governor says guidelines issued by the governor himself dictate another course of action for the so-called Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers – or TRAP. 

Aneesh Chopra served as Chief Technology Officer in the Obama Administration and was Virginia’s Secretary of Technology before that.  He promotes creative thinking, and that’s what led him to review the governor’s own standards for writing state regulations:

“Governor McDonnell has said that if a regulation is disproportionately impacting small businesses, and all 20 of the Virginia clinics are small businesses, classified under state laws, then he commands his regulatory bodies to exhaustively review alternatives, and to make it easier, he actually provided a list of the kinds of alternatives he would encourage them to adopt," said Chopra.

The one that caught Chopra’s eye was called the Informed Disclosure Alternative:

“If, in fact, there is a standard – in this case the clinics have to meet certain high hospital standards, but they do not meet them today, rather than shut down the clinics, the informed disclosure alternative would say you must make sure that patients who seek care your clinics are informed that you do not meet these new standards.”

In other words, clinics could simply post a sign indicating they do not meet state standards .  Chopra also calls on the board of health to consider another statement issued by the McDonnel Administration.

“In November of this past year, the governor published the cost/benefit analysis for these TRAP regulations, and it said – and I quote – “there is insufficient data to accurately compare the magnitude of the benefits versus the costs.”

The board of health meets Friday at 9, April 12,  to again hear from the public and vote one last time on the new rules.  They would then go to the attorney general and the governor for final sign-off.