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The bill that set into motion the contentious process of developing the regulations passed in 2011. Opponents say the standards were intended to shut down most of the state’s abortion clinics, while sponsors say the guidelines were meant to make facilities that perform five or more abortions per month safer for women.

The Virginia Board of Health initially voted to exempt existing clinics from the requirement, but Mr. Cuccinelli told board members they had exceeded their authority and that his office might not represent them if they were sued. The board reversed its position.

Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of law, said that while the attorney general’s advisory opinion could carry weight in a legal case, Democrats could always ask the incoming attorney general for a new interpretation.

“I don’t believe the new governor is going to feel bound by this,” he said.

Mr. Tobias said another option would be to ask Mr. Herring more broadly to issue an advisory opinion on the legality of the process by which the board approved the regulations.

“It seems to me the Democrats should come in on the first day and ask if these regulations were validly enacted,” he said.

Mr. Marshall also acknowledged that Mr. Herring could issue a contrasting opinion.

“I hope Mark is not willing to do that,” he said. “He can defy it, he can ignore it, but any attempt to rewrite it is going to be fraudulent from the first.”