Virginia Board of Health rejects most controversial abortion clinic regulation

(Photo courtesy abbybatchelder via Flickr)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Board of Health has eliminated the most hotly contested provision in the state's new abortion clinic regulations.

The board voted 7-4 Friday to strike a requirement that existing clinics meet the same strict building standards as new hospital construction.

Only newly constructed clinics would be held to those standards.

Several opponents of the regulations leapt to their feet, cheered and hugged one another after the vote.

Critics have argued the regulations could force the closure of most of the 20 clinics that have applied for a license out of business.

The board ignored the advice of the attorney general's office, which said the 2011 law requiring the regulations mandates the tougher standards. The board continued to discuss other provisions Friday afternoon.

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