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WaPo's McCartney: Virginia's New Abortion Regulations, Kaine-Allen Poll

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The Virginia Board of Health implemented new regulations for abortion clinics this week, while Virginia politics dominated the headlines thanks to the release of a new Quinnipiac University poll. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney traveled to Richmond to cover these stories, and he talked with WAMU Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey by phone this morning.

Political fallout from abortion rules?

There could be some significant political implications of the new abortion clinic regulations, McCartney says. These will likely play out during the battle for control of the State Senate in the upcoming elections. Democrats control the Senate now, while the House is majority-Republican.

"If the GOP wins control of the Senate -- and they only need to pick up a couple of seats -- with a Republican majority in the House, and a Republican governor, and a Republican attorney general, it's reasonable to expect that there would be more changes like this to restrict and limit abortion rights," McCartney says. 

Some of the proposed restrictions that have been raised in the past include a ban on all abortions after a pregnancy passes the 20-week mark, even in cases where the health of the mother is at stake, as well as a requirement that all women get an ultrasound before having an abortion procedure.

Poll shows Kaine, Allen in a tie

Though the election is still more than a year away, a poll released by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute shows that candidates for U.S. Senate Tim Kaine and George allen are tied. It's news that will likely be touted by both sides, McCartney says. 

"Kaine's numbers are essentially unchanged even though President Obama's approval numbers dropped quite a bit," says McCartney. "And I think Allen's going to feel like his approach is working." 

McCartney points out that Allen has tracked toward the center of the political spectrum on some issues during the campaign so far, presumably to win the votes of more moderate voters. 

The close race "just shoes what a purple state is," McCartney adds. "It shows what a battleground it is. George Allen was up by one point in the most recent poll, but in June, Kaine was ahead by one point." 

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