WASHINGTON (BP) -- Abortion rights advocates have taken aim at draft regulations released by the Virginia Department of Health for a new law requiring abortion clinics to abide by the standards expected of hospitals.
The law is the first in the nation to mandate such regulations for clinics performing first-trimester abortions.
The state board of health will vote on the draft regulations Sept. 15. If approved, the rules will become effective Jan. 1.
When the law was enacted in March, pro-choicers said it might result in the closing of 17 of Virginia's 21 abortion clinics. The state health department's release of the emergency rules Aug. 26 elicited complaints that they are expensive and unnecessary.
"Those guidelines are extensive, significant physical plant requirements. To make the changes could be upwards in the million of dollars," said Jessica Honke, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Victoria Cobb, president of the pro-life Virginia Family Foundation, said, "While the abortion industry alleges that regulations will close down clinics, Virginians understand that Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, is a $1 billion business.
"They have the money to ensure that their abortion centers are for women, now they'll have to decide whether they want to spend their money on women's safety or continue spending it on trying to get pro-abortion politicians elected," Cobb said, the Times-Dispatch reported.
Compiled by Baptist Press Washington bureau chief Tom Strode.
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