Abortion-rights organizations will hold a rally Wednesday to protest proposed regulations for abortion clinics that they say will shut down many of the state’s 22 clinics that perform abortions.
“The regulations are a backdoor attempt to deny women access to a safe, legal medical procedure and threaten the health and safety of Virginia women,’’ the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health wrote in a release. “We are standing united to send a message to the Board of Health that they must protect women’s access to affordable, high quality reproductive health care.’’
The lunchtime rally at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond will include speeches by Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond), Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), health care providers and representatives from Virginia NOW, among others.
The 15-member Board of Health, which has a majority appointed by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), is expected to vote on the emergency regulations Thursday. They would go into effect Dec. 31. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) and McDonnell will then review the regulations.
Anti-abortion advocates have been pushing for two decades to impose new regulations that would treat abortion clinics as ambulatory surgery centers and require that they meet hospital-type regulations. They say such rules will make Virginia clinics safer for women because they will no longer be treated like doctor’s offices.
The General Assembly passed a bill this spring to mandate that the rules be written no more than 280 days after the bill was signed into law.