HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- The Virginia Board of Health met Thursday to talk about loosening some abortion clinic regulations currently in place. After an hour of public comment, the board voted to amend the regulations abortion-performing clinics are required to adhere to.
The State Health Commission recommended in October that the rules requiring clinics to operate like hospitals be revised. And Wednesday the board agreed.
Critics of the rules said they could cause some of the state's 18 abortion facilities to close, if the clinic could not afford to follow the guidelines. Some of the restrictions required clinics to widen hallways, add parking spaces and other building renovations.
"Abortions are safe. I can't stress that enough it's already extremely safe," Dr. Serina Floyd said. "These types of restrictions don't do anything to increase that safety and there's no medical evidence that they do that."
However, supporters of the new regulations said the rules could increase safety for women having abortions. Supporters of the regulations also argued the new rules may lead to fewer abortions.
"Nine months is nothing but the following years they will suffer," pro-life advocate Shirley Joslin said. "After having that abortion they will regret it, trust me. It takes five to seven years before it hits a woman after the abortion on what she's done."
The board is now tasked with which regulations to amend, which could take several months to complete.