RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The State Board of Health has voted to scale back Virginia abortion clinic regulations that critics say were driven by politics, not science.
The board voted 9-6 to give preliminary approval to amendments to the regulations Thursday. The most noteworthy revision would exempt existing clinics from strict new-hospital construction standards, reversing a decision made by the board when it was dominated by appointees of former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell. The board also rolled back some construction standards for new facilities.
Supporters of the tougher construction standards say they're necessary to protect women's health. Critics contend the real aim is to put clinics out of business.
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe last year ordered the board to revisit the regulations. His appointees now make up a majority of the 15-member board.