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Cuccinelli opinion pushes abortion clinics to the brink

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has issued a legal opinion that there is authority in state law to place greater restrictions on abortion clinics.

The opinion, issued late Friday, says the state “has the authority to promulgate regulations for facilities in which first trimester abortions are performed, as well as for providers of first trimester abortions, so long as the regulations adhere to constitutional limitations.”

The opinion, which pro-choice activists say could lead to the shuttering of most abortion clinics in Virginia, was met with praise from State Del. Bob Marshall, a social conservative ally of Cuccinelli who called the opinion “a victory for women and children across Virginia.”

“We should do everything possible to ensure that every woman’s life and health and their future pregnancies are protected by the Commonwealth of Virginia. To do otherwise is to shirk from government’s first responsibility,” Marshall said.

Tarina Keene, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, told today that pro-choice advocates had been expecting Cuccinelli to “take on abortion providers, and it looks like this is the first pitch.”

“These so called regulations are only an attempt to shut down abortion clinics in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Keene told the Post.

Legislation aimed at giving the state moer authority to regulate abortion clinics has failed to win support in the Virginia General Assembly in recent years. Clinics are currently treated under state regulations the same as offices where patients can receive outpatient surgeries like oral surgery or plastic surgery.

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at