Abortion opponents, by contrast, said they’ve experienced a groundswell of support in light of recent controversies over abortion clinic conditions. Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell is now on trial, charged with killing seven newborns and one adult female patient. Two former nurses who quit working at Planned Parenthood of Delaware told WPVI-TV ABC News in Philadelphia on Wednesday the clinic was unsanitary and unsafe.
The Virginia rules could force abortion providers to undertake expensive physical renovations, including widening hallways and doorways and installing new heating and ventilation systems to meet specific requirements.
(Brendan Hoffman/GETTY IMAGES) - Anti-abortion protesters attend the March for Life on January 25, 2013, in Washington, DC.
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Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said the recent victories by abortion opponents could produce a backlash. “As Republicans continue to go down this path, they do it at their peril,” she said.
But Tom McClusky, senior vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Center, said conservatives have found it much easier to target abortion than gay marriage.
“If you’re going to speak out on the marriage issue, the vitriol is a lot bigger,” he said.
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) set in motion health regulations in December that impose strict, hospital-style building codes on Virginia abortion clinics. The final decision will be made Friday by the Virginia Board of Health.
The panel originally voted to exempt existing clinics from the rules, but reversed itself after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) warned board members that his office would not defend them in any litigation resulting from such a move.
Spokeswoman Caroline Gibson said Cuccinelli will “certify whether the regulations adopted by the Board of Health comply with state and federal law,” including a 2011 state law establishing the new standards.
Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director for Planned Parenthood Advocates for Virginia, said the “onerous and unnecessary architectural requirements” could cause some of the state’s 20 abortion providers to close their doors.
Capital Insight survey research analyst Scott Clement contributed to this report.
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