Continued from page 1

Dr. M. Catherine Slusher, who voted for the exemption in June, admitted to being a little confused at that meeting and said if she had it to do over again she would have acted differently.

“It’s not a matter of our personal preferences,” she said. “By adding construction [restraints], we are not harming their conditions. … I totally disagree that we are limiting access to service.”

Paul Clements, who also switched his vote, dismissed the notion that it had anything to do with outside pressure.

“At no time during this process did I ever feel like I was being pushed by anybody,” he said.

All 20 of the state’s clinics have applied for licensing and 12 have been granted licenses after submitting plans to correct deficiencies ranging from a corridors or doorways being too narrow or having inadequate hand-wash and service sinks, Ms. Remley said. None have indicated an intention to close.

Advocates have consistently argued that the new design regulations would be prohibitively expensive and could force the clinics to close.

But Chris Freund with the Family Foundation, which supports the regulations, called that argument a “false choice.”

“They can stay open — they just can’t perform abortions,” he said, citing Planned Parenthood’s claim that only 3 percent of their patient care deals with abortion services.