Gov. McAuliffe calls for review to abortion clinic changes - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Gov. McAuliffe calls for review to abortion clinic changes


Controversial measures instituted last year requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as new hospitals could soon be reversed, as Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe called for a review Monday.

McAuliffe asked members of the Board of Health to immediately begin reviewing the regulations to ensure they don't infringe on Virginians' access to the centers' services. 

"I am concerned that the extreme and punitive regulations adopted last year jeopardize the ability of most women's health centers to keep their doors open and place in jeopardy the health and reproductive rights of Virginia women," McAuliffe said.

The governor also announced the appointment of five new members to the Board of Health, naming people "who share his commitment to women's health and support his plan to review the health center regulations," according to a statement from the governor's office.

One of the new board members is James Edmonson, who fought to delay the vote on the changes last year and fought for an exemption excusing existing clinics from the standards.

"My concern from the beginning has been access," said Edmondson at the time. "I don't want to see any of the clinics close."

The Family Foundation of Virginia blasted Gov. McAuliffe's moves, calling them "political payback to an abortion industry that spent over a $1 million to get him elected."

"Has the Governor bullied five members of the board into resigning because they don't agree with is pro-abortion position?" asked Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia. "Why is the abortion industry so afraid of having public health officials inspect their facilities if they are safe?"

The measures were enacted by former Governor Bob McDonnell, despite protests from women's rights organizations. The Board of Health passed the measures on an 11-2 vote in April 2013 to require around 20 abortion clinics in Virginia to meet the same regulations as hospitals. 

Critics argued the required renovations would be costly and called the measures an attempt to shutdown clinics. Supporters say the measures protect women's health by making sure buildings are clean and safe.

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