Richmond, VA—Last year, the General Assembly approved regulations for abortion clinics in Virginia, requiring them to meet the same health standards as hospitals. Now, opponents of the regulations say they unfairly impact low income patients.
The regulations have continued to make waves in the Commonwealth, and have been met with frequent opposition. The state's former health commissioner Karen Remley resigned abruptly over the new rules last October.
In a few weeks, the State Board of Health will decide whether to make the new regulations permanent.
Detractors say centers which have or will close down because they don't meet the regulations are vital health care resources for some women and families.
“Closing these health centers doesn't just mean access to safe and legal abortion but sometimes the only health care that these women have,” says Cianti Stewart-Reid of Planned Parenthood.
Stewart-Reid says low-income women will be hit hardest by the new regulations; while supporters of the regulations say they are meant to make health care better, some say they will limit access to healthcare for certain individuals.
Dr. Wendy Klein of Planned Parenthood says, “This actually will diminish access to care, diminish access to family planning services, primary care services.”
Pro-choice advocates have delivered more than 3,600 public comments to the State Board of Health, opposing the regulations. Friday is the last day for public comment before the Board meets April 12. If the regulations are approved, advocates say a majority of Virginia's 21 abortion clinics will be shut down.
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Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond