VA Board of Health Rules Against Contested Clinic Requirements
The Virginia Board of Health has officially weighed in on an issue that could have put many abortion clinics out of business. On Friday, it voted against a provision requiring existing clinics meet the same strict building standards as hospitals.
That decision came down Friday afternoon in a 7-4 vote. Now, many clinics are breathing a sigh relief, but some women's health supporters are speaking out, saying this is just another example of slick politics.
No words were spoken, but the message was heard loud and clear. Health advocates came out in droves for a silent protest in Richmond on Friday to put pressure on the board of health not to pass new abortion clinic regulations.
The board's 7-4 vote eliminates a requirement that existing clinics meet the same building standards as hospitals.
University of Virginia Doctor Jef Ferguson was on the panel of six doctors the Health Department appointed to collaborate on regulations for health centers, but he says they didn't discuss building standards.
The regulations he said included "silly things that don't improve safety, don't improve outcomes, don't help in any way. Just add expense and likely decrease options for patients in terms of availing themselves to care."
If the regulations had passed, it would have forced clinics to invest in costly renovations, money many don't have.
Ferguson explained, "Upwards of a million dollars in unnecessary renovations only two or three things could happen, they could close [or] pass along the expense to patients. But in either of those circumstances, it's not a good thing for the women of Virginia."
Delegate David Toscano says the whole thing was just a guise for Republicans to close abortion clinics.
"The Republicans are trying to make it more difficult for women to have more access to contraceptive services and reproductive services. Every time you turn around, there is another regulation they try to impose to make it difficult for people to exercise their constitutional rights," said Toscano.
The board ignored the attorney general's office, which endorsed the 2011 law requiring regulations that mandate tougher standards.
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Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012.Full Story
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012. She is a proud alum of Howard University and is currently pursuing her Master's in Communication at Johns Hopkins. Email/ Full Story