Va. begins writing permanent regulations for abortion clinics

The Virginia Board of Health is again considering how to regulate the state’s abortion clinics.

The board already approved far-reaching regulations last year on an emergency basis but now must consider permanent regulations.

The board will hold a hearing Friday on the permanent regulations and accept comments until Feb. 15.

 The Coalition for Woman’s Health is urging people who are opposed to further restrictions to sign petitions and contact the governor.

The emergency regulations, some of the toughest in the nation, include mandates on the size of exam rooms, the width of hallways and the number of parking spaces, as well as requirements for inspections, medical procedures and record-keeping.

The regulations went into effect Dec. 31 after approval by Gov. Robert McDonnell (R). The rules are considered emergency regulations that could be in effect for as long as 18 months before the board approves permanent rules.

Regulatory changes by the Board of Health typically take as long as two years to implement. But state officials rushed to adopt the new rules after the General Assembly voted last spring to mandate that they be written no more than 280 days after a bill was signed into law.

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