RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — Virginia’s State Board of Health voted Sept. 17 to weaken abortion facility regulations instituted four years ago. The move sends the state on a trajectory opposite that of others that are responding to allegations of illegal activity in undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress.
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe promised to be a “brick wall” for abortion rights during his campaign and has systematically replaced members of the Virginia board with abortion supporters. Eight of the 15 board members are McAuliffe appointees.
The approved amendment exempts 17 abortion facilities from the hospital building standards requirement. State Attorney General Mark Herring issued an opinion earlier this year stating the standards didn’t apply to facilities that existed when the regulation passed. The regulations addressed building and equipment standards, sanitation and staff training.
Other weakened regulations included guidelines on anesthesia, a post-abortion counseling requirement, sexually transmitted disease screenings and emergency transfer agreements with hospitals.
While Virginia is rolling back abortion facility regulations, other states are taking a closer look at abortion facility practices in response to the Center for Medical Progress’s undercover videos, such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and New Hampshire, which have all revoked Planned Parenthood funding.