Planned Parenthood reacts to legislation to regulate clinics

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Pro-choice advocates are disappointed about legislation that would make Virginia the first state to regulate abortion clinics. But one anti-abortion group said the move is necessary.

Planned Parenthood said the facility on North Hamilton was built with legislation like this in mind. But fear many other clinics will be forced to close. Despite that, anti-abortion groups said there needs to be oversight to protect women.

Planned Parenthood's Courtney Jones calls this a sad day for Virginia women.

"I think that legislators put politics before people," said Jones.

Governor McDonnell plans to sign legislation to make Virginia the first state to require clinics that provide five or more first trimester abortions a month to meet the same standards as hospitals.

"There has been no oversight of these clinics and yet around the country there are horrific incidents that have occurred, and they have ties to Virginia - that we want to make sure someone is checking on Virginia's clinics," said Victoria Cobb, President of the Family Foundation of Virginia.

But Jones estimates it could close 17 out of the state's 21 clinics.

"So for women who are rural areas who may not have access transportation to the funds to travel, it's going to severely limit their access to a legal medical procedure," said Jones.

The state board of health will establish regulations which could include expensive structural changes. Jones said past legislation required clinics to have resuscitation equipment. Planned Parenthood Richmond has it on site in case of emergencies.

It's one thing, Cobb said the Family Foundation of Virginia has pushed for in the past.

"We believe women want to know that if they make this choice they make it in a place. That's safe," said Cobb.

The Senate was deadlocked on the issue today. Lt. Gov Bill Bolling cast the tie-breaking vote. Gov. McDonnell told us he supports the bill because it will make sure all clinics are regulated the same way.

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