Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion yesterday that empowers the Virginia Board of Health to require women’s health clinics that offer abortion procedures to meet hospital-like standards. The opinion was requested by state Senator Ralph Smith (R), according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Abortion providers in Virginia are currently regulated in the same way as other medical facilities that provide out-patient procedures, according to NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “This new policy would single out abortion clinics and burden them with onerous and unnecessary restrictions,” NARAL says, including requiring clinic doctors to hold hospital privileges, clinic counselors to have professional training and clinic facilities to undergo structural changes. The Virginia Board of Health can choose whether to act on this opinion. State Delegate Robert G. Marshall (R) wrote a letter to Governor Bob McDonnell (R) Monday asking him to force the Board to implement Cuccinelli’s opinion, according to the Washington Post. “These so-called regulations are only an attempt to shut down abortion clinics in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, according to United Press International. Abortion rights advocates say it is likely that 17 of the state’s 21 clinics would close if the Board of Health moves to enforce these types of regulations because they could not afford to make the required changes.