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Va. Health Department Could Require Abortion Facilities To Meet Hospital Standards

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By Elliott Francis

In Virginia, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has issued a legal opinion widening the restrictions for abortion clinics.

The legal opinion is in response to an inquiry by State Senator Ralph Smith who asked if the Commonwealth has the authority to regulate abortion clinics in the state.

Currently clinics follow the same rules of operation set aside for offices which provide oral or cosmetic surgery. The opinion clears the way for the state's board of health to treat abortion facilities like ambulatory surgery centers which are required to meet standards similar to hospitals.

Some abortion providers say they’re concerned about the cost of changes required to meet those standards. They say ultimately the move could force more than half the providers in the state to shut down. The guidance from the attorney general indicated that any regulations enforced by the board must comply with Roe v. Wade.

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