Abortion Clinics Await Key Vote 

The State Board of Health considers regulations that could force many abortion clinics to close.

click to enlarge Pro-choice activists sat in silent protest during a Virginia Board of Health meeting Sept. 14, when the board upheld key provisions of the new abortion clinic regulations. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Pro-choice activists sat in silent protest during a Virginia Board of Health meeting Sept. 14, when the board upheld key provisions of the new abortion clinic regulations.

Women's rights activists are mobilizing in Richmond this week while the Virginia Board of Health prepares to finalize new regulations that are expected to close many of state's 20 abortion clinics.

A coalition of women's health advocates plan to descend on the Board of Health's meeting Friday, where members are widely expected to approve targeted regulations of abortion providers.

The new rules would go into effect during the next year, requiring existing clinics to conform to architectural guidelines that proponents say will ensure patient safety.

Detractors say the guidelines are unnecessarily burdensome — in some cases, retrofitting the clinics can be cost-prohibitive — and unfairly target women's clinics in a politically motivated effort to shut them down and limit access to abortion in Virginia.

Among those planning to testify at the meeting are Dr. Karen Remley, the former state health commissioner who resigned last year, citing political interference and overreach by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office.

"It's not a pro-choice or a pro-life issue," she says. "It is a good government issue. The regulations are illegal."

Remley says she'll urge the board to be objective. "We should have a thoughtful approach. Not a punitive approach. It should be similar to how we regulate all our other health care facilitates."

Molly Vick, an organizer of last year's women's rights protests, says she's petitioning the Board of Health to also retroactively apply guidelines to other existing health facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes. She says Cuccinelli's interpretation of the relevant laws and regulations support her petition, which she says she's filing to show that the attorney general and the board aren't motivated by general health safety concerns but by a desire to shutter abortion clinics.

Katherine Greenier, the director of the Women's Rights Project at the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, calls Cuccinelli's position baffling.

In an email, she writes: "It is clear that the Attorney General's office is offering a new interpretation of Virginia law in order to force physician's offices and clinics that provide abortion services to meet standards that have never been imposed on any other type of health care facility."


Latest in News and Features


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Ned Oliver

Connect with Style Weekly

Most Popular Stories

  • Gold Rush

    Gold Rush

    Richmond’s flirtation with two casinos has all the makings of an epic movie with voters deciding the ending.
    • May 11, 2021
  • Vote Now

    Vote Now

    Vote for your favorites in the 2021 Best Of Richmond
    • May 1, 2021
  • Site Unseen

    Site Unseen

    Hidden in Plain Site virtually highlights Richmond’s often neglected Black history.
    • Apr 27, 2021
  • Find Your Scent

    Find Your Scent

    New custom candle-making company in Midlothian allows customers to craft their own scented products.
    • Apr 27, 2021
  • More »

Copyright © 2021 Style Weekly
Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
All rights reserved
Powered by Foundation