The Washington Post

Abortion-clinic regulations awaited in Richmond

Abortion rights advocates planned to speak out against proposed permanent regulations for clinics Friday, when Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R)’s administration had been expected to release them.

The administration said that release of the proposed regulations, which would replace emergency rules that went into effect Dec. 31, has been pushed off until next week.

It is unclear how significantly the proposal will differ from the emergency regulations, which treat abortion clinics as ambulatory surgery centers and require that they meet hospital-type regulations. Some of the toughest in the nation, those rules 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.

Now the Virginia Board of Health is developing permanent rules, which will not be adopted until after the public has been given an opportunity to comment.

Abortion rights advocates planned to speak out Friday outside the Manchester Courthouse, following a hearing on charges from a March 3 protest on the steps of the Capitol.

More than 30 people had been arrested after refusing to vacate the Capitol steps to protest a bill that would have required most women seeking abortions to first undergo a vaginal ultrasound. They’ve dubbed themselves the “M3 arrestees,” a reference to the date of the arrests.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.



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