Health Commissioner announces decision to amend abortion clinic rules

Posted at 1:07 AM, Oct 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-02 01:07:59-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Some of the new rules and restrictions on abortion clinics in the Commonwealth could soon be lifted.

Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine recommended Wednesday that the Targeted Restrictions for Abortion Providers (TRAP), which required clinics to operate like hospitals, should be amended.

Critics of those rules said they were an effort to shut down clinics that couldn't afford to follow the guidelines – called unnecessarily stringent by many.

Supporters of the rules have said they added safety for women having an abortion.

"We pleased with the Commissioner’s decision today to amend these burdensome and medically unnecessary restrictions,” said ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl. “We all share a goal of ensuring Virginia women are safe and healthy. However, onerous restrictions designed to shut down women’s health centers only endanger Virginia women’s health by cutting off their access to trusted care providers.”

"We look forward to the Board of Health strengthening the standards in the areas the Commissioner has pointed out have proven to be seriously deficient in nearly every abortion center in Virginia, including the storage and dispensing of drugs, being better prepared for emergencies, improper use of anesthesia and application of state laws like parental consent," wrote the Family Foundation in a widely distributed statement.

Now it's up to the state health board to write new rules, a process that could take some time.