9:38am

Fri February 25, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Abortion Clinics In Va. Face Regulation Like Hospitals

After years of trying, the Virginia General Assembly passed a bill that would beef up regulation of abortion clinics. And Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell is expected to sign the bill into law.

Abortion rights opponents, who pushed for the law, say it will hold clinics to higher safety standards. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement:

If we cannot accept sub-standard care that would jeopardize women's health in other areas, such as post-natal care, we cannot accept it from abortion clinics.

But advocates for abortion rights in the state warn the law will place such heavy burdens on clinics, where most early-term abortions are performed, that many may be forced to close.

Jessica Honke of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, called it "devastating for women's access to health care in Virginia," the Roanoke Times reported.

The measure passed the Virginia Senate Thursday, when Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling cast a tie-breaking vote.

If the governor signs the bill into law, a 15-member medical board will have to write the regulations.

Most of the more than 26,000 abortions performed in the state are done in clinics that are regulated like doctor's offices that offer colonoscopies or similar procedures, the Washington Post reports. The new rules, critics of them say, could specify such things as how wide corridors and doorways would be and specific staffing levels. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.