Virginia’s government has reached a new low in its campaign against reproductive rights; apparently Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli are not content with the reach of the state’s new mandatory ultrasound law, establishment of a civil cause of action for fetal wrongful death, and police harassment of women’s rights protesters.
Now they have bullied the Virginia Board of Health into regulating many of the state’s abortion providers out of existence. The new rule (text from Board meeting agenda) imposes an unreasonable, and medically unnecessary, requirement that reproductive health care providers upgrade some of their facilities to match that of new hospitals. For example, they now must have wider hallways, larger exam rooms and more water fountains. Previously the Board decided to treat such clinics as doctor’s offices, which are subject to less elaborate design regulations. However, on September 14th they reversed their decision after Cuccinelli refused to certify the more lenient version of the rules.
To make matters even worse for Virginia’s women, a personhood bill is still percolating in committee within the State Senate after an initial defeat. It will probably be up for another vote next year.