In a packed meeting room Friday morning, members of the Virginia Board of Health voted 11 to 2 to approve strict new regulations.
Those who support abortion rights say it's an attempt to shut down clinics, which won't be able to cover the cost of the changes.
Abortion opponents say the move will protect the health of women.
Virginia's 20 abortion providers will soon have to meet the same building standards as new hospitals. This addresses issues like - width of the hallways and number of parking spaces.
"This decision is a disastrous one for women in Virginia,” says Dr. Laura Meyers of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington. “What's happening across the country and in Virginia is that extremists are enacting laws that will severely impact women's ability to access safe and legal abortion. It's really turning back the clock."
The board had voted to grandfather already existing buildings, but Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli pushed the board - saying abortion providers should not be held to lesser standards.
These new regulations go to the governor and then once they are officially published, there will be a 30-day wait before they take effect.
APRIL12 STATEMENT FROM THE VIRGINIA COALITION TO PROTECT WOMEN’S HEALTH:
“Thisis a devastating day and step back in time by more than 40 years into the darkdays before Roe v. Wade. After two years of shocking backroom deals andbullying public health servants, Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney GeneralKen Cuccinelli have totally disregarded both the facts and Virginians’ opinionsas they pushed through pushing an ideological agenda that is out of touch withthe residents of this state. The ripple effect of this decision to other statesis devastating to all women and men who agree with access to safe reproductivehealth care for women and families.”
Katherine Greenier, Co-chairwoman, Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health