Virginia Board of Health
11:33 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Abortion Clinic Regulations Get Final Approval

Credit Steve Helber/AP

Defying the testimony of many legal and medical experts, Virginia’s Board of Health has given final approval to new regulations that will force abortion clinics to meet the same architectural requirements as new hospitals.

Supporters cheered but angry protestors walked out of a state hearing room Friday after the board of health voted to impose new regulations on abortion clinics – architectural requirements originally written for new hospitals.  

Some months ago, the board agreed to impose the standards only on new clinics, but Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli refused to certify the vote and warned members he would not defend them if anyone chose to sue over this issue.

About 30 people testified before today’s vote – most opposing the new rules.  Activist Eileen Davis pointed out that other medical facilities that perform invasive procedures  -- dental surgeries, colonoscopies and liposuction – are not required to meet hospital standards.

“If you truly believe you need to regulate outpatient clinics, then regulate them all," said Davis.

But 11 of 13 board members voted to impose the rules on abortion clinics alone.  Those facilities now have two years to comply.  Critics say it will be too expensive for most to do so, and they predict most of Virginia’s 20 abortion clinics will close. 

Sandy Hausman reports.