Protesters were not happy about the abortion clinics vote
RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA) -- The Virginia State Board of Health reverses course and ends up adopting strict building guidelines at abortion clinics set forth by the General Assembly.
Should abortion clinics be subjected to hospital-like building codes? Board members now say yes after they had voted to exempt existing facilities.
Now some wonder if the change of heart was politically motivated.
The two opposing board members, James Edmondson from Mclean and Anna Jeng from Norfolk, left in tears saying they now wonder about access to healthcare for low income women.
The crowd erupted when the 13-2 vote came down.
"Shame, shame, shame!" Pro-choice advocates chanted. They had sat together in peace but left in turmoil. One protestor shouted: who got to you people?
Angry pro-choice advocates accusing board members that politics got the best of them. That politics won and not women.
In contrast, anti-abortion advocates stood up and clapped.
Scores of people had stood outside holding signs unable to get into the packed security tight room where the Virginia State Health Board made its decision.
Some argued the majority caved into political pressures in adopting Va. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's anti-abortion agenda.
Board Member James Edmondson said "We are an A-political body put into a political situation and we didn't do very well."
The reversal brought him to tears.
"I worry. We'll see. Access matters.
Edmondson and Jeng argued that widening hallways, and enlarging exam rooms would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and put the 20 clinics in Virignia out of business. They said that would leave healthcare out of reach for thousands of women. But the majority spoke.
Dr. Catherine Slusher says, "Nothing in the General Assembly law would cease abortions or cease women's healthcare. By adding construction we are not harming Virginians we are improving quality."
Board members are appointed by the governor and can serve up to two four year terms.
Governor Bob McDonnell appointed Dr. Slusher. Former Governor Warner and Kaine appointed Jeng and Edmondson.