Public Comment Period Surrounds VA Abortion Regulations

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Activists participate in public comment period Activists participate in public comment period
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - The controversy involving abortion in Virginia is heating up. A public comment period wraps up this week regarding new regulations for women's health centers.

As Governor Terry McAuliffe orders a review on the Targeted Restrictions of Abortion Providers (TRAP), activists aren't waiting around in silence.

The Virginia Board of Health commissioner received thousands of comments Tuesday afternoon from those against the highly scrutinized abortion clinic decrees. They say women would lose access to care, while those on the other side say it's about safety.

"We don't want to go back to the time where people were going into back alleys and using coat hangers and knitting needles,” said Amanda Spence, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.

Those opposed to TRAP say new regulations - particularly codes ordering specific spacing requirements on buildings and parking lots - would effectively close abortion clinics and eliminate women's health centers. The group delivered more than 4,800 comments against the regulation to the Board of Health commissioner in Richmond.

"These targeted regulations do nothing to improve safety, but rather create barriers,” said Dr. Wendy Klein, internist.

Others say this all came about because clinics in Virginia were exposed in inspection reports.

"Unsterilized equipment, bloody equipment, needles that have been found that have been uncovered, violations of parental consent,” said Jessica Cochrane, policy analyst for Family Foundation.

Cochrane is referring to leaked reports from the Department of Health that date back to 2012. Inspections revealed hosts of sanitary problems at different facilities in Virginia.

"When these centers continue to rail against these standards it shows that abortion is what clearly pays the bills,” said Cochrane.

Interests on both sides remain anxious over the upcoming outcome.

The public comment period ends on Thursday, so you still have time to have your voice heard.

The governor has made clear he will be fighting these rules to the end.
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