RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Abortion-rights supporters are making one final attempt to derail strict new regulations that they claim would force most of Virginia's 20 abortion clinics to close.
The Virginia Board of Health heard from about 30 people on both sides of the issue Friday morning ahead of a scheduled final vote on the regulations, which would require new and existing clinics to meet strict new-hospital building standards. The packed meeting room was about evenly divided. Many of the activists carried signs expressing their views.
Critics argued that the regulations are medically unnecessary and are intended to reduce access to abortions. Supporters countered that the regulations are intended to protect women's health.
The board already has given preliminary approval to the regulations, which took effect on an emergency basis on Jan. 1, 2012.