Virginia Abortion Clinic Regulations Revised To Be Stricter

Demonstrators participate in the annual March for Life, protesting the Supreme Courts Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States, in Washington on January 24, 2011.   UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

New, stricter Virginia abortion clinic regulations released Friday could prompt some locations to close, The Washington Post reported.

The regulations, long-waited by anti-abortion advocacy groups, will treat abortion clinics as if they were ambulatory surgery centers, and require them to meet the same standards as hospitals, such as exam rooms at least 80 square feet and corridors at least 5 feet wide.

“The physical plant requirements would be just about the worst in the country,” said Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit reproductive health research center that gathers data on U.S. abortions. “They will require abortion clinics to meet the physical plant requirements of hospitals, which is completely out of scale with the safe nature of abortion.”

The new Virginia abortion clinic guidelines also require facilities to have an infection prevention plan, and for anesthesia to be admnistered by a physician, and for the state health commissioner to revoke licenses if regulations are not met.

The Board of Health will vote on the rules Sept. 15 and, if passed, they will go into effect Dec. 31.

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