By News Reporter Dean Seal
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office has certified the Virginia State Board of Health’s decision to adopt new abortion facilities regulations for all health centers and clinics that provide abortions.
The certification comes in the wake of a controversial 13-2 vote conducted by the Board of Health on September 14, which overturned the Boards’ earlier decision to exempt existing abortion facilities to regulations previously allocated only to the construction of new facilities.
The certification was sent in a letter on Tuesday to Dr. Karen Remley, the Commisioner of the Virginia Department of Health. The letter contended that the Board of Health “had the statutory authority under Virginia law to adopt the abortion facilities regulations it adopted at its September 14 meeting,” according to a release from the attorney general’s office.
The letter also certified that the regulations under scrutiny are “constitutional and do not conflict with existing federal or state laws or regulations.”
The new regulations being considered by the Board of Health would require existing abortion clinics in Virginia to follow the same structural regulations imposed on hospitals. These regulations require Virginia clinics that provide five or more abortions per month to upgrade their facilities to the same standard as hospitals. The standards imposed on existing facilities would require larger operating rooms, as well as wider hallways and increased parking.
While these standards have been normalized for the construction of new facilities, they would place responsibility on existing facilities to upgrade at their own cost.
These developments have prompted accusations from Pro-Abortion organizations that Cuccinelli, a staunch Pro-Life advocate, intends to shut down abortion clinics under the guise of arduous governmental policy. These organizations fear that the renovations required to remain in accordance with such strict policies will be too costly for abortion facilities to adhere to.
Members of the Board of Health have denied these claims, citing public health and safety as their only motivation. Governor Bob McDonnell has contested these claims, saying “I certainly don’t agree with the contention that this will put every abortion clinic out of business.”
The regulations will now be sent to Governor McDonnell’s executive branch for review, where, if approved, they will be published for a 60-day comment period before returning to the Board of Health for final consideration.