Virginia—the state that brought you a proposed law that would have mandated an invasive transvaginal ultrasound before an abortion—has come up with another insane way to try to prevent women in the state from getting the legal procedure. And this time, it has nothing to do with the female body.
Instead, the state is trying to shut down its abortion clinics by imposing expensive, inane and unnecessary regulations on—wait for it—the buildings. That’s right. It’s entirely possible that all 20 of the state’s clinics could be shut down in two years because they don’t meet the ridiculous building standards being imposed upon them.
In part because of the new abortion clinic regulations, Virginia Health Commissioner Karen Remley resigned Thursday.
The Huffington Post:
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Remley wrote a letter to colleagues saying, “how specific sections of the Virginia Code pertaining to the development and enforcement of these regulations have been and continue to be interpreted has created an environment in which my ability to fulfill my duties is compromised and in good faith I can no longer serve in my role.”
Women’s health advocates have long argued that the process by which the abortion clinic regulations were pushed through the state Board of Health was fraught with corruption and misuses of power. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, an outspoken anti-abortion advocate, sent a set of detailed building regulations for first-trimester abortion clinics to the board for approval in June. The new rules, which called for covered entrances and hallways of certain widths, would require costly renovations, and many clinics would be unable to comply in the allotted two-year time period.
The Board of Health passed those regulations in June, but included a provision that would grandfather in existing clinics so that they would not be forced to close. Cuccinelli refused to certify that version of the regulations, telling board members that adopting such an amendment was outside their scope of power. He threatened to withhold state legal counsel from them if they did not pass his original version of the regulations.