About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Abortion clinics in Virginia will soon face a new level of state regulation

Abortion is widely available in Virginia and frequently performed. Nearly one in five pregnancies in the state ends in an abortion.

I learned these facts while working on a story about a new  law that will increase state supervision of private abortion clinics. The story will appear soon in the paper. The General Assembly passed a law earlier this year instructing the State Board of Health and the Health Department to come up with a set of regulations that could affect almost every aspect of the clinics’ operations.

Health Department officials said this week that they are at the start of that process. One of the first steps they’ll take is to look at the provisions in the 22 states that do regulate abortion clinics. A draft set of regulations is expected to be ready for an abbreviated public comment period by early September. The regulations will eventually go to Gov. Bob McDonnell for his signature.

The regulations will apply to clinics that do five or more first-trimester abortions per month. Virginia has 19 clinics that would be affected. Last year these clinics did 23,633 abortions. The Fredericksburg area does not have an abortion clinic, so local women go elsewhere when they want an abortion. The Health Department tracks this out-migration and reports that 927 Fredericksburg-area women had abortions in 2009.

According to the Health Department, these are the state’s private abortion clinics and the number of abortions they did in 2010:

A Capital Womens Health Clinic Henrico 1323
A Tidewater Womens Health Clinic Norfolk 2339
Amethyst Health Center for Women Manassas 1372
Charlottesville Med. Center for Women Charlottesville 415
Falls Church Healthcare Falls Church 1345
Hillcrest Clinic Norfolk 1859
NOVA Healthcare Fairfax  3824
Peninsula Medical Center for Women Newport News 733
Planned Parenthood Montgomery 123
Planned Parenthood Charlottesville 563
Planned Parenthood of Southeast Va. Norfolk 869
Planned Parenthood of Southeast Va. Virginia Beach 602
Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge Roanoke 907
Richmond Medical Center for Women Richmond 2097
Roanoke Medical Center for Women Roanoke 398
Virginia Health Group Fairfax 541
Virginia Womens Wellness Virginia Beach 2033
VLPP Richmond 1455
Womens Health Clinic Alexandria 835
  TOTAL 23,633