In what can be seen as a victory for pro-life advocates Virginia's attorney general has signed off on new regulations that would require stricter enforcement of safety standards at abortion facilities across the state.
On Wednesday, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli certified new regulations that forces existing abortion facilities to comply with the same health and architectural standards that hospitals are required to adhere to. The specifications included a number of new guidelines such as doorway widths, hallway and room sizes.
Pro-life advocates insist that the new regulations will increase the oversight that many critics have long claimed was overdue. They stress that the new regulations, which will also include numerous new record keeping and inspection standards, will allow for safer and more accountable abortion facilities.
The decision comes after the new regulations were publicly debated for a two year period. Over that time pro-abortion advocates argued that the measures were cumbersome and too expensive to implement, which they tried to claim would lead to worse safety conditions, and even the closure of some facilities.
However, state Health Commissioner Karen Remley explained to the Virginia Board of Health that each one of the state's abortion facilities had already been previously inspected and that none of the facilities had indicated any intention to close because of the new regulations.
So far 11 abortion clinics have received their licenses after their plans to correct their facilities were approved, while plans for other abortion clinics are still pending.
Cuccinelli's office sent verification to state health officials that it approved the actions of the state's Board of Health, explaining that it had acted within its power and that the new regulations are constitutional and do not negate or interfere with any existing laws or regulations.
"[These regulations] will force an industry that has had no accountability to clean up its act," Victoria Cobb of the Family Foundation of Virginia told the Richmond-Times Dispatch.
"Initial safety inspections by Department of Health officials found 80 violations of safety standards in just nine abortion centers. This is an industry long in need of oversight."