The Virginia Board of Health is expected to make a decision later today on whether existing abortion clinics must comply with newly-instated facility regulations that would require abortion providers to make thousands of dollars in updates and may force some clinics to close altogether. Protesters waiting outside of the board of health consider the new laws “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers” (TRAP), which are implicitly meant to limit women’s access to legal abortions through regulation of the provider, instead of the patient.
The Board of Health previously grandfathered in existing providers, saying they were exempt from the new regulations. But Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli — who protesters jokingly refer to as ‘Cooch’ — refused to sign off on their decision. Yesterday, the Virginian-Pilot reported that Cuccinelli essentially threatened the Board into reconsidering its decision, saying that otherwise they’d be denied state-funded legal services in the future.
Officials barred testimonies by doctors and advocates opposed to the regulations today, a move that further enraged pro-choice activists. In a statement, the Virginia Health Coalition said, “If passed, the regulations may end access to legal abortion in Virginia, creating the most restrictive state abortion regulations in the country and ending access to critical cancer screenings and annual care for thousands of Virginia women.”
(HT: @maehemsez for the photos)