Pro- and anti-abortion groups in Virginia are battling over regulations that will be decided in a Friday vote by the Virginia Board of Health
The board is deciding whether temporary regulations in the state regarding women's health clinics should become permanent, the Washington Times reported on Thursday.
Here's a look at recent headlines surrounding this issue:
Conservative group supports new health and safety regulations: On Thursday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch featured an opinion from Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb who wrote that "abortion industry or its apologists ... wants you to believe non-verifiable, industry-produced statistics that claim abortion is 'safe,' though neither the federal government nor the Commonwealth of Virginia track abortion-related injuries or deaths."
Pro-choice group calls for "safe, legal" abortions: NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia commented on the board meeting in a press release, noting that temporary regulations put in place in January would be made permanent if accepted by the board of health. Instead, they joined with a coalition calling for abortion to be safe and legal.
The group noted that Virginia Senate Bill 924, signed into law in March 2011, reclassified women's health centers as hospitals. The change allows the locations to be more closely regulated.
Coalition says TRAP is "red tape": The group joined with the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women's Health in saying the regulations "have nothing to do with the safe delivery of services for women and everything to do with legislators' efforts to restrict access to reproductive healthcare." They warned health centers could be forced to close due to the new regulations.
TRAP laws stirring passions: Both groups referred to the legislation as TRAP laws (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers). The concept has also been coming under fire in Michigan where heated discussions and controversy have taken place in recent days over the use of the medically-correct word "vagina" on the floor of the Michigan House.
Adviser disavows regulations: Dr. James E. "Jef" Ferguson II, an adviser who helped draft the regulations, asked that his name be removed from the final draft.
He was quoted by the Washington Times as saying he "couldn't support the unnecessary regulations relating to building codes and the like as they didn't have anything to do with physician care or safety. They do not reflect the recommendation from the physicians and the medical community. This is discouraging to me."
The regulations include requirements for hallway width and janitorial closet size.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington D.C. in Gaithersburg, Maryland.