June 15, 2012
The Virginia Board of Health has approved the state's new abortion clinic regulations after striking its most hotly contested provision.
"We were extremely surprised and extremely happy that the Virginia Board of Health decided to take politics out of women's health care," said Keiana Mayfield, Planned Parenthood Educator.
The board voted 7-4 Friday to strike a requirement that existing clinics meet the same strict building standards as new hospital construction. Only newly constructed clinics would be held to those standards.
Several opponents of the regulations leapt to their feet, cheered and hugged one another after the vote. Critics have argued the regulations could force the closure of most of the 20 clinics that have applied for a license.
The board ignored the advice of the attorney general's office, which said the 2011 law requiring the regulations mandates the tougher standards.
The board then voted 8-3 to approve the regulations.