Abortion clinics in Virginia thought they might have to close, since they were not able to meet tough new rules.
Under Governor Bob McDonnell, the Virginia Board of Health approved new requirements for abortion clinics – forcing them to follow the same rules as hospitals or shut down. Supporters of the change said it was needed, because clinics posed a danger to women’s health. This month, the state finished a routine semi-annual inspection of all 18 facilities and found no serious flaws. Erik Bodine is director of the Office of Licensure and Certification.
It's back to the drawing board for a slightly revamped State Board of Health, which now has new political appointees. The Board has decided to study and amend abortion clinic regulations that have only been in effect since last year. The regulations’ defenders say the inspections have uncovered unsafe conditions, while abortion-rights advocates say the rules may force clinics to close.
The Virginia Senate has approved legislation to repeal the state law passed two years ago that requires women to have an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion. The measure was initially defeated—then in a dramatic reversal, was revived.
Bill sponsor Senator Mamie Locke said ultrasounds may not be medical necessary, and those that are can be performed without this law.
Planned Parenthood and abortion-rights advocates may have lost the battle over the implementation of new Regulations for Licensure of Abortion Facilities, but now the organization is targeting the gubernatorial campaign of the man they say is responsible for those new laws.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is now the recipient of Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC’s “Gynotician of the Year Award.”