Cuccinelli under fire for move against certifying women’s health center regs
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli refused on Monday to certify new regulations of women’s health centers approved last month by the State Board of Health, claiming that the board exceeded its authority by adopting an amendment that allows existing women’s health care centers to be “grandfathered in,” rather than subjected to building requirements meant for the construction of new facilities.
The move has brought sharp criticism of the social conservative by the ACLU of Virginia and women’s groups.
“The ACLU of Virginia is greatly disappointed that activist Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli continues to impose his personal political views in the regulatory process. His activism continues to threaten women’s health and safety by seeking to impose unnecessary and burdensome regulations of women’s health centers that provide abortion care jeopardizing the ability of those facilities to remain open and provide a wide array of other health services to the community,” ,” said Katherine Greenier, Director of the ACLU of Virginia’s Women’s Rights Project.
“The war on Virginia women continues as Attorney General Cuccinelli denies the legitimacy of action taken by the Virginia Board of Health. It is becoming more clear every day that Cuccinelli is determined to impose his own personal religious beliefs onto all Virginians. With the latest poll showing 68% support women’s reproductive rights, Cuccinelli is obviously out of step with the vast majority of Virginians,” said Katherine Waddell, a former state delegate and president of Women’s Strike Force, a bipartisan coalition of Virginia activists who have created a new political action committee raising money to recruit and support candidates to defeat any elected official who supported the controversial mandatory ultrasound legislation passed earlier this year in the Virginia General Assembly.
Under Virginia Code, the Board of Health is directed to promulgate regulations that conform to standards established and recognized by medical and health professionals and that are consistent with the 2010 Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities.
As originally drafted, the regulations governing women’s health centers diverged from those of other health facilities by requiring existing health centers to meet the construction and safety guidelines intended only for new construction rather than “grandfather in” those facilities. The original rules stood in stark contrast to expert medical opinion and were inconsistent with the 2010 Guidelines.
The regulations now go before Gov. Bob McDonnell for final review.