State Board of Health discusses new building standards for Va. abortion clinics

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — According to a new report, there has been one complaint about abortion clinics since the State Board of Health’s meeting in March and the average number of citations given to clinics in the commonwealth has gone down from 2012 to 2015.

The most common deficiency clinics were cited for was infection prevention, such as hand washing equipment and supplies, proper disposal of linens, and pest control. The report is part of the ongoing discussion involving the state’s clinics and standards for those clinics, both sides seeing the report very differently.

“We’re seeing proven metrics that show that abortion facilities throughout the state are very safe,” said obstetrician Kris Kennedy.

“We are seeing that inspections have seen some really strong deficiencies,” said Victoria Cobb with The Family Foundation.

Pro choice advocates have been fighting strict new hospital like building standards for clinics. State officials say only five of the 18 clinics operating in Virginia fully meet the new codes. While pro-choice advocates have argued the standards are not based on improving women’s health, pro-life advocates have pointed to serious problems with clinics.

“Ultimately this is about the health and safety of women and every woman should be able to trust that any facility that they walk into is going to be safe,” said Cobb.

“We are not opposed to regulation. We are opposed to unnecessary medically inaccurate and inappropriate restrictions,” said Cianti Stewart-Reid with Planned Parenthood.

Attorney General Mark Herring has declared that the new standards should not be applied retroactively to existing abortion clinics. Meanwhile both sides agree on one thing.

“As we move forward in the regulatory process, that we’ll see hopefully regulations from this board that reflect the best medical practice and put women’s health above politics,” said Stewart-Reid.

“We want to see this board side with the women of Virginia and put politics aside and say that safety matters and tell the abortion industry that they need to put their money in the matters of safety, not in politics,” said Cobb.

The board could make a decision when they meet to discuss the issue in September.

Stay with 8News for more on this developing story as it unfolds.

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