Va Board of Health to take up abortion-clinic regs 

The Virginia Board of Health is developing permanent state regulations governing clinics that perform abortion procedures.

The board plans to hold a public hearing in Richmond on Friday. Last fall it approved "emergency" regulations after the General Assembly passed legislation to require that all clinics performing five or more first-trimester abortions per month meet the same strict building standards as new hospital construction.

The regulation's supporters say the goal is to protect women's health. Critics say such guidelines aim to reduce access to abortions and would put most of Virginia's clinics out of business.

The legislation called for the interim regulations to take effect by Dec. 31, 2011, and remain in place for a year while permanent regulations are developed.

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