Virginia Health Commissioner Resigns over New Abortion Clinic Regulations

Saturday, October 20, 2012
Dr. Karen Remley

Virginia’s strict new regulations for abortion clinics have prompted the state’s health commissioner to resign in protest.


Dr. Karen Remley, head of the Virginia Department of Health since 2008, quit on Thursday citing concerns with the “development and enforcement” of the regulations that pro-choice advocates say will force some clinics to shut down.


The new rules were prompted by legislation adopted last year that ordered 22 existing clinics to be regulated the same as newly built hospitals rather than as doctors’ offices.


This meant many clinics must undergo physical modifications that cost thousands of dollars to complete. For example, among the 46 pages of regulations are ones that dictate the size of examination rooms and hallways in clinic buildings, require the installation of hands-free faucets on sinks with at least 10 inches between the faucet and the bottom of the sink, require that computer servers be placed in a separate room and that water coolers be installed in lobbies. The clinics have two years to make the changes.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Virginia Abortion Clinics Left Wondering If They Must Pay for New State Requirements (by Anita Kumar, Washington Post)

Va. Health Commissioner Resigns over Abortion Clinic Regs (by Nick Dutton, WTVR)

Virginia Department of Health Commissioner’s Resignation Letter (WTVR)


Leave a comment