Virginia Legislation May Shut Down Abortion Providers


"In a perfect world we would have more respect for human life and the unborn and there would be no abortions, but in the current legal framework we are limited in what we can do. We're very concerned about the safety of women who are unfortunately making the decision to have an abortion," he says, citing two malpractice cases affiliated with abortion providers the foundation is currently investigating.

Though most clinics have cited the strict building requirements as the most prohibitive and expensive aspect of the proposed legislation, Freund feels that the demands are reasonable: "The abortion industry is a $1 billion industry. Fixing their facility is something that's affordable if they choose to do it," he says.

Paulette McElwain, president and CEO of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood says that the physical requirements are in fact the only stumbling block for their centers -- all their clinics already meet or exceed the strict regulations on patient safety and privacy, inspection control, and staffing that are outlined in the regulations.

The building requirements may prove even more difficult for individual physician's offices that provide abortions as part of gynecological care, according to Rosemary Codding, the administrator of the Falls Church Healthcare Center in Virginia. Given their location in a 1950s high-rise, requiring the remodeling of everything from hallway width to ceiling height to air conditioning ducts may be unfeasible.

"I've had engineers looking at the code to figure out how we can adjust, but I don't know how we are going to manage," she says.

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