RICHMOND, VA, January 3, 2013, (National Right to Life News)—Commonsense abortion clinic regulations in Virginia are now one step closer to taking effect. Last Friday, Governor Bob McDonnell approved the regulations that were enacted in 2011 with bipartisan support in the legislature.

After a 60-day period public comment period, the regulations will go back to the state Board of Health for a final vote, which could happen as early as March. The regulations then head “to the attorney general and executive branch agencies,” the Richmond Times Dispatch reported. “The permanent regulations are expected to be adopted by the summer.”

As NRL News Today and LifeSiteNews.com have reported, the law, SB 924, mandates that abortion clinics be treated like outpatient surgical centers, if they provide five or more first-trimester abortions a month. The regulations address such issues as building standards, staff training, sanitation, and equipment standards.

Abortion proponents fiercely opposed the clinic regulations, but did not gain any traction until the state Board of Health’s out-of-the-blue decision last June to exempt existing abortion clinics from the law. This “grandfather” provision was widely lauded by the likes of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and critiqued by pro-lifers, including Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

The board’s 7-4 decision came even though Senior Assistant Attorney General Allyson Tysinger told the members that the board lacked authority to grandfather in existing clinics. She explained that the law passed by the General Assembly that required the regulations specifically mandated the tougher building standards.

Soon after the board made its decision, Cuccinelli refused to certify the regulations. In July, when the board reversed itself (on a 13-2 vote), pro-abortionists reiterated their claims that these requirements were so onerous, so burdensome, abortion clinics would be forced out of business.

“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 corridors or doorways being too narrow or having inadequate hand-wash and service sinks,” said State Health Commissioner Karen Remley, according to the Washington Times. “None have indicated an intention to close.”

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To show just how piqued NARAL was,  its executive director sent out an e-mail charging, ”After two years of shocking backroom deals and bullying public health servants, Governor Bob McDonnell is clearly proving his disregard of Virginians’ opinions about women’s health care.”

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin told The Washington Post that the regulations had bipartisan support.

“These regulations are a product of legislation that passed both the House and Senate with support from members of both parties,” he said via e-mail. “The governor believes these common-sense regulations will help ensure that this medical procedure takes place in facilities that are modern, safe and well-regulated, in order to help ensure the safety and well-being of all patients.”

Olivia Gans Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, added, “Women’s safety has been put gravely at risk for many years in Virginia by unscrupulous abortionists that care no more for women’s health and safety then they do for the babies killed in every abortion." 

"Sadly, abortion remains a deadly procedure for those innocent unborn children,” she said.

Reprinted from National Right to Life News.