Public comment window opens for Virginia’s new abortion clinic regulations

Posted at 9:50 PM, Jan 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-27 21:50:39-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A 60-day public comment period begins Monday for Virginia’s contentious abortion clinic regulations.

The two-month period allows the public to weigh in on the regulations to the Virginia Board of Health.

The panel will then review the regulations and vote on whether or not to impose hospital construction standards on Virginia clinics that perform abortions. If approved, the regulations would take effect over the summer.

Proponents have said the new requirements will keep women safe while critics have argued the changes involve costly, unnecessary renovations designed to shutter the state’s abortion clinics.

Additionally, Planned Parenthood released  a statement saying that even if the regulations are signed into law it will continue to serve its patients.

“We already are regulated and meet top medical standards. These regulations require health care providers to make onerous and unnecessary architectural changes only create more financial and logistical challenges for patients.”

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli originally refused to certify rules passed by the State Board of Health in July that would have grandfathered current clinics from the new rules.

However, after Cuccinelli warned the board of possible lawsuits over the abortion vote, five of the eight Board of Health members who voted for the “grandfather amendment” in June, did not support the amendment in September.

As a result, Dr. Karen Remley, the State Health Commissioner, resigned from her post in October in protest of the new regulations.

If the Virginia Board of Health board approves the measure, facilities in Virginia would then have up to two years to complete the changes.