AG will not certify new abortion clinic regulations

Posted at 11:39 PM, Jul 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-17 13:56:56-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)  - A major development concerning Virginia’s controversial new abortion clinic regulations, as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said Monday he refused to certify rules passed by the State Board of Health.

Cuccinelli shot down the rules because he didn't think they passed constitutional muster, but critics say this call is more about a political agenda.

Virginia's regulations on abortion clinics have been passed around with haste from the Capitol to the Board of Health and finally into the hands of the Va. Attorney General.

"This comes as no surprise, this was--in his mind--beyond their authority," said Victoria Cobb of the Family Foundation. 

Cuccinelli told the State Board of Health Monday that their new regulations requiring abortion clinics to comply with the same strict building standards as hospitals were unconstitutional because of a clause that would let current clinics be exempt from the rules.

Anti-abortion groups said it's about the safety of Virginia women. "They deserve to know that the government is overseeing these just like they do other outpatient surgery centers," said Cobb. 

Others argued health has nothing to do with the decision.

"I think it's all politics, I think the attorney general is wrong on the law," said Del. Jennifer McClellan (D) Richmond. 

McClellan said that the board has history on its side, citing that past building regulations from the board have also had exemptions.

"They complied with the law, he just chose a different outcome then he would have and he has no power to veto that," said McClellan.

But, as political experts said; the man who does gets the hot potato next has veto power. Governor Bob McDonnell, along Cuccinelli's lines, has hinted this week at problems with the exemption.

"Their sense is that these regulations aren't stringent enough," said CBS 6 political analyist Dr. Bob Holsworth.