RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The battle over abortion clinic regulations and whether to require the clinics maintain hospital-like standards has been going on for years.
Last fall following a request by the governor to revisit those regulations the board voted to get rid of stricter standards.
On Tuesday, The Family Foundation says the governor and the board broke the law by allowing public comment on six potential changes when in reality, the board made 20 amendments.
“The public had no ability to weigh in on these changes until after the board had already voted,” said Victoria Cobb with The Family Foundation.
Itzel Melendez is one of the plaintiff’s in the case. She says she joined the suit after going in for an abortion and seeing the conditions. She says she’s hoping the state returns to stricter standards.
“I am concerned that without basic health and safety standards abortion centers will operate in a way that could put my health at risk if I ever decided in the future that I needed their services,” said Melendez.
Megan Getter, a member of the board of health, says she and several colleagues voiced concerns the board was violating the law.
“Consequently we believe we have no other option than to file an appeal with the courts and to hold the board and the administration accountable. Boards like ours cannot be allowed to operate outside the law,” said Getter.
The suit alleges the board violated the Administrative Process Act which oversees the process non elected boards must follow in order to implement regulations.
“No matter what the governor wanted to do and what the board chose to do, they need to do it within the process of the Administrative Process Act,” said Cobb.
We reached out to the governor’s office, who sent us the following statement:
“My Administration has worked tirelessly to protect women’s access to health care and to repeal burdensome and unnecessary regulations that the U.S. Supreme Court has confirmed are unconstitutional. This action is aimed at closing women’s health clinics and limiting access to life-saving care, plain and simple. These kinds of efforts have lost at the ballot box and at the U.S. Supreme Court. But rather than accept these losses, political extremists are unfortunately plunging us into further litigation at taxpayer expense. I am disappointed by the Family Foundation’s announcement today, which would ultimately hurt Virginia women and families.”