Health centers that provide first-trimester abortions must meet building standards designated for new hospitals or close by Spring 2014.

The Virginia General Assembly passed a targeted restrictions on abortion providers (or TRAP) law in 2011, requiring first-trimester abortion providers be regulated as hospitals. Regulations drafted by the Virginia Board of Health and enacted in 2012 required existing abortion providers to adhere to the design and construction standards for building new hospitals, including specific requirements around the width of hallways, number of parking spaces, and style of sink handles. These design standards have never been retroactively applied to any other health facility. The regulations approved by the Virginia Board of Health were opposed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association.

When the clinic-shutdown law passed the General Assembly in 2011, there were 21 first trimester abortion providers in Virginia. Now there are 14.

Senate Bill 924, sponsored by Senator Ryan McDougle (R – Mechanicsville) was amended by the House of Delegates to include language from Delegate Kathy Byron (R – Lynchburg) regulating abortion providers. It passed the House 63-34 and the Senate 20-20, with the tie vote broken by Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling.

Sources: Va. Code Ann. § 32.1-127SB924, 2011; Virginia Department of Health; Letter from Stephen H. Bendheim, Chair, Virginia Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Holly S. Puritz, Vice-chair, and Christian A. Chisholm, Secretary-Treasurer to Karen Remley, Commissioner of Health, regarding proposed regulations on abortion facilities, September 14, 2011; American Public Health Association, Opposition to Requirement for Hospital Admitting Privileges and Transfer Agreements for Abortion Providers, Policy Statement, May 2012. 

Stand Up For Abortion Access

Women who have decided to access an abortion should feel safe and supported, not face shame and barriers.