Va. passes abortion clinic regulations
Roz Helderman reports on the Virginia Politics blog that the Virginia General Assembly has agreed that abortion clinics should be regulated as hospitals instead of physician's offices, a move that antiabortion activists have sought for almost two decades, insisting that it would improve clinic safety.
Abortion rights advocates say it will make the state one of the most restrictive for abortions in the country and could force as many as 17 of the state's 21 abortion clinics to close.
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) has said he will sign the bill, which gives the state's Board of Health 280 days from the law's enactment to write new rules for clinics that perform at least five first-trimester abortions a month.
The bill's passage came as the Democratic-led state Senate voted 20 to 20 Thursday to approve the measure after a lengthy and emotional debate. The tie was broken by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who cast his vote in favor of the bill. All 18 of the chamber's Republicans backed the bill, as did two conservative Democrats.
Antiabortion activists hailed the vote as the most significant victory they've achieved in Virginia in years. Abortion rights groups said they think the regulations will place an unconstitutional burden on a woman's ability to get an abortion in Virginia, and pledged to sue.
Read the entire post on the Virginia Politics blog.
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