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Hearing on Abortion Regulations Draws Criticisms



March 7, 2013

The Virginia State Board of Health took a lot of flak during a public comment session in Richmond Thursday. One of the loudest voices of criticism came from the former state health commissioner.

Karen Remley resigned from her position last October, after the board of health voted 13-2 to approve stricter regulations for abortion clinics. The new rules require clinics to meet the same building standards as hospitals. Abortion-rights advocates argue the standards could force many of Virginia's 20 clinics out of business.

Remley said whether she is pro-life or pro-choice is irrelevant, and the real issue is about proper governance.

"What I am, is pro-government," Remley said. "Do governing the right way with the right amount in the right time."

During Thursday's hearing, Remley accused State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of over-stepping his authority by refusing to accept the health board's initial decision against imposing tougher regulations.

Those regulations require clinics to meet new building codes, which include widening hallways and providing drinking fountains. Clinics have two years to make the changes.

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