A Virginia law requiring clinics that perform first trimester abortions to meet Board of Health regulations on hospitals will become effective just as Republican Governor Bob McDonnell’s six appointees assume positions on the 15 member board. After Governor McDonnell appoints the two additional members in the coming months, he will have appointed eight total members. At that time, his appointees will make up a majority on the panel and give the anti-abortion governor influence over abortion clinic regulations.
The regulations on hospitals are far more stringent those on physician’s offices and could cause as many as 17 of the state’s 21 abortion clinics to shut down as a result of the cost to implement the required changes.
These regulations will significantly and unnecessarily increase the cost of early abortions and will make it more difficult to get an abortion in Virginia. Reproductive rights groups, including the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, and the American Civil Liberties Union oppose the law, which imposes unnecessary and onerous regulations on abortion providers and restricts women’s access to reproductive health services.