Henrico Judge to decide whether lawsuit over abortion clinic regulations will move forward

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A lawsuit filed against the state board of health will soon move forward or be dismissed when a Henrico County judge rules on it.

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. Pro-life group The Family Foundation says the governor and the board broke the law by not allowing public comment on several proposed changes. Their attorneys argued Friday against a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the board.

“They know over and over the board violated the law,” said Victoria Cobb with The Family Foundation.

Cobb says by getting rid of those stricter standards, the board is putting patients at risk, pointing to violations found at clinics while those standards were in place.

“We had over 300 health and safety violations during that time period and now those safety standards have been taken away, how am I supposed to feel comfortable going into that facility to receive services,” said Cobb.

Others disagree with Cobb and the Family Foundation. 8News spoke with Ashleigh Crocker who said that the regulations are an unnecessary barrier to care.

“We believe that these sham restrictions are bad for women and bad for our communities,” Crocker said.

Crocker was one of a number of protesters outside of court Friday calling the regulations a sham.

“They regulate things like the number of parking spaces and the width of hallways that women’s health centers need to have and those things don’t matter when they come to health care,” Crocker said.

Attorneys for the state argued the family foundation can’t actually prove anyone is being injured by the removal of the regulations.

The judge said he will make his decision on whether the lawsuit can continue or will be dismissed in two weeks.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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