Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli refused to certify the new Virginia targeted regulations of abortion providers (TRAP) yesterday that were passed by the Virginia Board of Health last month. The regulations contain an amendment, added in a 7 to 4 vote by the Board of Health, that exempts existing clinics from building regulations that would have required substantial renovations. The regulations still require that new first-trimester abortion clinics are built to meet hospital construction standards. Also under the regulations, state authorities, without notice, can enter any clinic, existing or new, to examine patient medical records, gather a list of current patients, and interview patients on site, potentially violating both patient and provider privacy.
Progress Virginia Executive Director Anna Scholl criticized Cuccinelli’s decision and said, “The Attorney General has no basis to exert veto power over these regulations. In Ken Cuccinelli’s desperate crusade to regulate away reproductive health access for Virginia’s women, he’s willing to completely ignore the parameters of the Attorney General’s office. By way of reminder to Mr. Cuccinelli, I would note that the role of the Attorney General is as a consumer advocate. The only thing Cuccinelli is advocating for is shutting down women’s health clinics and preventing thousands of Virginia women from accessing safe and legal reproductive health care” in a press release.
The regulations will now be reviewed by Governor Bob McDonnell, who is also a staunch abortion opponent. Attorney General’s office spokesman Brian Gottstein defended the refusal to certify the regulations and told the Washington Post “Our office merely reviews the regulations and certifies whether they are compliant with the law or not “We make that determination solely on a legal basis, not on the basis of whether we agree with the policy or not.”
Media Resources: Washington Post 7/16/2012; Progress Virginia Press Release 7/17/2012; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/18/2012
Photo credit to Flickr user Election Night 2010.