Board of Health to Scale Back on Abortion Clinic Regulations
The Virginia Board of Health has decided to scale back abortion clinic regulations put in place under the last Republican governor. Now the amendments will be reviewed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration.
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Board of Health has decided to scale back abortion clinic regulations put in place under the last Republican governor.
Now the amendments will be reviewed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration.
With McAuliffe in office, he made several appointments to the board that are favorable to loosening abortion facility rules.
But, one anti-abortion rights group says these changes go too far and it is considering taking legal action.
Monday, the board voted to roll back a series of regulations that have been under review for an extended period of time. The most heavily-criticized rules dealt with building design.
Pro-abortion rights groups said that was designed to shut down facilities.
Up until this point, clinics have had the option to apply for a temporary waiver for those structural concerns.
But now, the board has approved granting the health commissioner the authority to authorize permanent waivers, and for various different regulations.
“This is so far outside what the General Assembly intended and unfortunately I think there'll be repercussions. I think this opens up the commonwealth of Virginia to costly litigation," Victoria Cobb of Family Foundation Virginia said.
"Hallway width, awnings over doors, number of parking spaces don't advance medicine. The Supreme Court clearly said that in the whole woman's health case," Cianti Stewart-Reid of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia said.
The Family Foundation of Virginia said the waivers and other technical changes went beyond what the board previously said was up for review.
Monday's amendments approved by the board though are not set in stone.
McAuliffe, the attorney general's office, and many other agencies will begin evaluating these recommended changes.
Leaders say at the end of the day, they must ensure that Virginia law follows the recent Supreme Court decision that says rules cannot impose undue burden on women's access to abortion.