The Arkansas Public Health and Safety Committee passed HB 1855, a bill requiring medical facilities that provide over ten non-surgical abortions per month to meet the standards of out-patient surgical centers and obtain a license from the state Health Department. The bill would require clinics to be equipped with defibrillators and ventilators and would impose new restrictions on hallway and parking lot dimensions. The bill will go the Arkansas House for a vote.
These regulations would impose unnecessary and onerous regulations on abortion providers and restrict women’s access to reproductive health services. Murry Newbern, director of community affairs at Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma, stated, “It’s a burden and it targets us specifically. This is just a tactic that people that want to reduce access to safe, legal abortion use make it more expensive.”
In Virginia, a similar bill passed into law in February that requires requiring clinics that perform first trimester abortions meet the Board of Health regulations on hospitals, which are far more stringent than the regulations on physician’s offices.