Va. AG Cuccinelli Clashes With State Board Of Health Over Abortion Clinic Regulations

The attorney general maintains that the board went beyond its authority by removing a provision from the regulations that would have required existing clinics to meet new hospital construction standards. Also in Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell appointed an anti-abortion physician to the board of health. Meanwhile, in other state news, Planned Parenthood has filed suit against Arizona.

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Cuccinelli Won't Certify Abortion Clinic Rules
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is refusing to certify new abortion clinic regulations that were made less burdensome for existing clinics under a version passed last month by the Virginia Board of Health. The decision sets up another potential battle between those on both sides of the issue, as well as moderates and conservatives on the board, to which Gov. Bob McDonnell on Friday added Dr. John W. Seeds, a staunch anti-abortion physician. The certification decision came Monday in a memo to Health Commissioner Karen Remley. The Attorney General's Office said the board exceeded its authority when it amended the regulations to remove a provision that would have required existing clinics to comply with building standards for new hospital construction (Nolan, 7/17).

The Associated Press: Virginia AG Won't Certify Abortion Clinic Rules
Virginia's attorney general has refused to certify new abortion clinic regulations, saying the state Board of Health unlawfully stripped a hotly contested provision requiring clinics to meet the same strict architectural standards as new hospital construction. Republican Ken Cuccinelli's office sent a memo to Health Commissioner Karen Remley on Monday saying the board exceeded its authority (O’Dell, 7/16). 

Richmond Times-Dispatch: McDonnell Appoints Anti-Abortion Doctor To Board Of Health
Gov. Bob McDonnell has appointed an outspoken opponent of abortion to sit on the Virginia Board of Health. The appointment of Dr. John W. Seeds, an obstetrician at VCU Medical Center and vice chairman of the anti-abortion group OBGYNS for Life, comes just one month after the board voted 7-4 to grandfather the state's existing abortion clinics from stringent new regulations that would require the facilities to meet building standards for new hospital construction. The clinic regulations were passed by the General Assembly in 2011 as part of a last-second amendment by anti-abortion Republicans to an emergency preparedness bill that went undetected by Democrats and abortion rights advocates (Nolan, 7/16).

Also in the news --

Reuters: In New Abortion Battle, Planned Parenthood Sues Arizona
Planned Parenthood sued the state of Arizona on Monday in an effort to overturn a law that blocks funding for its health clinics because the organization also performs abortions. The law, signed by Governor Jan Brewer in May, is part of a national campaign against Planned Parenthood orchestrated by conservative Republican lawmakers who oppose abortions. In the past two years, 13 states have taken steps to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, and the organization has filed lawsuits in six of them, including Arizona (MacLaggan, 7/16).

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