Virginia Guidelines For Women's Clinics Draw Criticism
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WUSA)-- Merle Hoffman, the owner and founder of Choices Clinic in New York City, is in Washington to promote her book, and to join in the fight against Virginia's new guidelines for women's clinics where abortions are performed.
In essence, the new set of guidelines, approved by Governor Bob McDonnell, will re-classify the clinics in question into ambulatory service centers. It's the equivalent of turning a doctor's office into a hospital.
Pro-Choice advocates say it's an attack on the establishments that perform abortions, because many won't be able to meet the new demands and will inevitably shut down.
Hoffman, who came to Falls Church to speak to a group about her new book, "Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Boardroom," also joined forces with Falls Church Healthcare Center owner, Rosemary Codding. Together they hope to get Virginia to overturn the strict guidelines.
Hoffman said, " I think they're egregious, and I think it's the equivalent of an elephant swatting a fly," about the new guidelines.
Among other new rules, women's clinics would have to widen their hallways, broaden their examination rooms, and circulate air throughout the surgery areas. The regulations also include new guidelines as to how office records need to be kept.
Codding said, "I think they are ridiculously unnecessary, and it's putting women's health at danger."
But not everyone sees the new move as threatening. Carol Tobias, the president for the National Right to Life Committee, is standing by Virginia's ruling.
Tobias said they aren't in favor of abortions but if they (abortions) are going to be legal she said, "why would women not want a clean clinic."
The Falls Church Health Care Center has been operating since 2002 and Codding says they will know in March when an architect gives his assessment if the center will be able to meet the new state guidelines.