In a victory for the Falls Church Healthcare Center, a Virginia women’s health clinic that provides abortions, an Arlington County judge ruled last week to allow the clinic’s appeal regarding targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) laws to move forward in court. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is currently running for state Governor, had tried to have the appeal dismissed, but the judge ruled against him.
At issue was whether the Virginia Board of Health and Cuccinelli would be required to participate in a hearing about allegations that the Board violated an executive order by Governor Bob McDonnell. McDonnell’s order requires state agencies to consider how regulations impact small businesses and to make alternative options available.
The TRAP regulations in question have a detrimental impact on abortion clinics, imposing high costs for unnecessary structural and operational changes, and very little time to adhere to them. Examples of changes required by the regulations include making additional parking available, replacing existing ceilings, and adding showers to all facilities for staff members. The regulations have already forced two Virginia clinics to close since they went into effect in June. It would cost the Falls Church Healthcare Center over 60,000 dollars to adhere to them, according to its Director, Rosemary Codding.
The clinic’s appeal also claims that a hearing would show that Cuccinelli pressured the board to drop a “grandfather clause” exempting existing facilities from the new regulations.
About 30 supporters of the clinic attended the hearing in the courtroom, and around 75 attended a lively rally before the hearing outside the courthouse.
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 10/9/13; Feminist Newswire 6/14/13, 7/16/13