New Rules Could Shut Virginia Abortion Clinics
State's Board of Health passes stringent requirements
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2011 6:10 AM CDT
Competing activists demonstrate outside the Supreme Court.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Virginia's Board of Health yesterday passed abortion clinic rules so stringent that critics say they could force most or all 22 of the state's abortion providers to shut down, reports the Virginia Pilot. The rules—approved by state lawmakers earlier this year—are thought to be the strictest in the country and are due to take effect early next year after review by the state attorney general. They treat clinics as hospitals, imposing architectural requirements most will find it impossible to meet, reports the Huffington Post.

"I'm just amazed by their unrealistic and draconian views of how we're going to transition from a doctor's office that provides abortions to a surgical center," says the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southeast Virginia. "For us, the regulations are going to be unduly burdensome and onerous, and they don't reflect what's necessary for patient safety." Some state lawmakers admit that ideology is behind the policy. "As to critics who question our motives, we openly profess that all children before birth have the same inalienable right to life as persons who are born," GOP Rep. Bob Marshall wrote in a letter to the Washington Post defending the new rules.