Virginia Board Of Health Votes Down Controversial Abortion Clinic Requirement
Jordan Romer, right, signals her disapproval of comments during public comment portion of a state Board of Health meeting in Richmond, Va., Friday, June 15, 2012.
The Virginia Board of Health voted 7 to 4 on Friday to strike from the state's new abortion clinic regulations a controversial provision that would have required existing abortion clinics to meet the same building standards as hospitals.
Opponents of the requirement, which specified things like hallway widths and drinking fountains in waiting rooms, said it would be so cost-prohibitive that it could effectively shut down all 20 abortion providers in the state. Supporters of the provision, including Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, said the rule was meant to protect women's safety.
As the regulations now stand, only new construction of any women's health clinics that provide five or more first-trimester abortions per month must comply with the hospital building standards.