Virginia Board of Health Considers Tighter Abortion Clinic Regs

Virginia Board of Health Considers Tighter Abortion Clinic Regs

The Virginia Board of Health met on Friday to decide whether to require abortion clinics to meet stricter hospital-style standards, part of an effort by a number of states to tighten abortion restrictions.

Reuters reports that the board’s 15-member panel is considering a proposal that may force abortion providers to undertake expensive renovations, such as widening hallways and installing ventilation systems.

Gov. Robert McDonnell (R-VA) approved new health regulations in December that would mandate hospital-style building codes on Virginia’s 20 abortion clinics.

The Board of Health, which has the final word on the proposed rules, is meeting to approve the governor’s regulations.

Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Virginia, said the new requirements were unnecessary and expensive.

“There is the potential that some health providers won’t be able to meet those requirements and will have to close as a result,” she said.

Though, last year, the board voted to exempt existing clinics from the changes, it reversed itself in September after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli warned the board that his office would not defend them against lawsuits arising from the decision to exempt those clinics.

The Virginia Board of Health’s final approval would be the latest strike against the abortion industry around the country. The Republican-led Arkansas Senate voted this week to prevent state funds from going to any entity that provides abortions.

Indiana, New Jersey, and Texas have all passed similar measures. In addition, last month, North Dakota banned most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation in the nation to date.

Last week, Virginia’s General Assembly approved McDonnell’s proposal that blocks private insurance plans, sold through the ObamaCare exchanges, from including abortion coverage.

McDonnell also signed into law, last year, a bill that required an ultrasound procedure before an abortion.