Va. health department to release abortion-clinic regulations

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“We’re not required to do that by law, but in the spirit of open and transparent government, that’s what we’re doing,” he said.

Elsewhere in the country, a federal judge recently enjoined a Kansas law attempting to impose new regulations on facilities performing more than five non-emergency abortions per month and dictate specific requirements, for example, on the size and temperature of recovery and procedure rooms.

In South Carolina, a law that also requires abortion clinics to meet hospitallike standards has withstood legal challenges. Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II invoked the case when he issued an official advisory opinion last August saying that Virginia had the authority to regulate facilities that provide first-trimester abortions.

Abortions that occur after the first trimester must be performed in hospitals in Virginia.

Maryland is also in the process of drafting new regulations that require clinics to be licensed by the state, be subject to inspection and have a clinic staff member available at all times in case an emergency occurs.

Opponents have threatened litigation if the Virginia regulations prove too onerous, but Jordan Goldberg, state advocacy counsel for the U.S. legal program at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said it was premature to discuss potential legal action before the regulations were published.

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