Virginia Department of Health Issues Draft Abortion Clinic Regulations

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-Life Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell

As we wrote a few months ago, the state of Virginia is putting teeth into laws regulating abortion clinic. Having passed a law requiring abortion clinics performing more than five first-trimester abortions per month to abide by the same safety regulations as hospitals in March, last Friday the Virginia’s Department of Health issued draft rules fleshing out what will be required.

The Health Board will consider the temporary rules next month. According to the Virginia-Pilot, the “rules that could take effect this year and remain in place for up to 18 months while permanent regulations are developed.”

Predictably, Planned Parenthood cried wolf. “The Board of Health apparently ignored sound science and drafted regulations designed to limit access to safe, legal abortion services,” Planned Parenthood lobbyist Jessica Honke told the newspaper.

What PPFA bemoans, pro-lifers celebrate. For example, the 26-page draft not only includes specific physical requirements for abortion clinics, the draft allows inspectors to make unannounced visits and mandates that emergency care be available.

Joe Hilbert, director of government and regulatory affairs for the Virginia Department of Health, told the Washington Times that after the Board of Health meets September 15, the next step (assuming the regulations are approved) “is executive branch review, which would pass through the offices of the state attorney general, the Department of Planning and Budget, Health and Human Services, and the governor’s office.”

Temporary regulations “would be in place for 12 months while permanent rules are drafted, though [Gov. Bob] McDonnell has the authority to extend them up to an additional six months,” according to the Times’  David Sherfinski.

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