Virginia Abortion Clinics Threatened By New Regulations
First Posted: 8/29/11 05:41 PM ET Updated: 8/29/11 06:03 PM ET
There are 22 facilities that provide first-trimester abortions in Virginia, and all of them may have to close their doors over the next two years if they can’t meet the state government’s rigorous new health clinic regulations.
Virginia lawmakers passed legislation in the spring that required the Department of Health to release a set of “emergency” draft regulations for abortion clinics that were to go into effect by December 31.
The rules, released late on Friday, borrow a number of very specific physical plant requirements from a rulebook intended for the construction of new hospitals. For instance, a clinic must have 5-foot-wide hallways, 8-foot-wide areas outside of procedure rooms, specific numbers of toilets and types of sinks and all the latest requirements for air circulation flow and electrical wiring.
“On the first read, it seems hard to imagine that many facilities will be able to comply,” Jordan Goldberg, state advocacy counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, told HuffPost. “We can fairly say that the regulations as drafted are the most severe, onerous and restrictive that have been proposed anywhere. They’re intended to apply to facilities that don’t yet exist.”
If the Board of Health passes the new standards on September 15, abortion clinics have until January to show the state a plan for the extensive and expensive renovations they’ll have to undergo in order to meet the new requirements.
The Virginia League of Planned Parenthood said none of its five clinics are currently in compliance with the draft regulations. The renovations required to meet the new rules would cost millions of dollars, and abortion clinics would have to foot the cost themselves and try to recoup the money in patient fees down the road.
“We recently spent $4.6 million on renovations for the building I’m in, and we still don’t meet these requirements,” said Paulette McElwain, president and CEO of VLPP. “I think it’s highly likely that most facilities in Virginia that provide abortions wont be able to meet them either.”
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake in northern Peru today (Aug. 24) was the third major temblor to shake the Americas in less than 48 hours. A magnitude 5.8 quake hit Virginia yesterday, and a magnitude 5.3 event rumbled under Colorado the day before.
One might naturally wonder if there’s a trend here — if the Peru, Colorado andVirginia earthquakes are connected. But experts say there isn’t, and they aren’t.
“The question comes up all the time,” said David Schwartz, an earthquake geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), “but these three earthquakes are completely unrelated.”
MMI values (if indicated) after the text (III: Weak shaking, IV Light shaking, V Moderate shaking, VI Strong shaking, VII Very Strong shaking)
Gaithersburg, MD – MMI 4 checked – Sitting in basement. House starts shaking, stuff falling off shelves in the basement. Not windy outside. Buffalo, NY – MMI 4 checked – Williamsburg VA, USA – MMI 23 checked – At about 1:50 PM EDT felt slight shaking indoors as if a very heavy truck were driving nearby. Caused hanging chimes on grandfather’s clock to ring slightly. Very short duration – 15 to 30 seconds. Lovettsville, VA, USA – MMI 2 3 Checked – started at 13:53 EST and lasted about 5 seconds
Harrisburg, PA – MMI 4 checked – We evacuated our building after the building shook. We went back in when we realized it was almost the entire East Coast felt the shake. Frederick, MD – MMI 5 checked – The Telephone lines outside were all swaying and inside the cubicles were shaking for probably 5 seconds. Northern KY – MMI 4 checked – Working on 5th floor of concrete building in greater Cincinnati area. Felt shaking/swaying of building, something in my office made a noise. Scared me. Several people felt it, but some say they didn’t. Happened on 8/23 at about 1:52 pm. Rockford, OHIO – MMI 23 Checked – At 1:57 p.m. August 23, 2011, my desk chair rocked back and forth for two minutes, while the windown shade tapped rapidly and lightly on the glass. Clarksburg WV – MMI 4 checked – Vibrations felt, items slightly shaking. Pointe Claire, QC – MMI Checked – I was sitting in a medical building (2nd floor) waiting for my appointment when the floor started to sway. The doctor considered getting out through the window but they didn’t open. We all sat them dumbstruck, not knowing what to do. Luckily it didn’t last long…