Virginia Abortion regulations could shut down all state clinics

What Women Really Think
Sept. 15 2011 5:52 PM

New Virginia Abortion Regulations Could Shut Down All State Clinics

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Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Abortion clinics in Virginia are going to have to undergo major renovations or risk getting shut down according to new regulations passed by the Virginia Board of Health. The Huffington Post has a good break down of some of the unnecessarily persnickety new requirements:

A clinic must have 5-foot-wide hallways, 8-foot-wide areas outside of procedure rooms, specific numbers of toilets and types of sinks and all of the latest requirements for air circulation flow and electrical wiring. Each clinic must also have a parking spot for every bed, despite the fact that first-trimester abortions don't require an overnight stay. Further, Department of Health employees will be allowed to enter an abortion facility at any time without notice or identification.

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However, another state official—Republican delegate Bob Marshall—basically admitted to the Washington Post in a letter from earlier this month that the regulations were motivated by anti-abortion sentiment:Republican State Sen. Ryan McDougle claims that the new regulations are supposed to "to make sure that all medical procedures are done in a safe manner. "As to critics who question our motives," Marshall wrote in a letter with medical director Marie Anderson, "We openly profess that all children before birth have the same inalienable right to life as persons who are born." As HuffPo points out, the losers in all of this will be women. Not just the ones who need abortions, but the ones who need contraception, breast exams and pap smears. If all five Planned Parenthoods in the state are shut down, where will they go?

 

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

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