About Chelyen Davis:
Chelyen Davis is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
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|
|Peninsula Medical Center for Women||Newport News||733|
|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|
|Womens Health Clinic||Alexandria||835|