Richmond, Va. -- Virginia's attorney general has refused to certify new abortion clinic regulations, saying the state Board of Health unlawfully stripped a hotly contested provision requiring clinics to meet the same strict architectural standards as new hospital construction.
Republican Ken Cuccinelli's office sent a memo to Health Commissioner Karen Remley on Monday saying the board exceeded its authority.
Abortion rights supporters had vigorously opposed the provision, saying it would force most clinics in the state to close. The board's 7-4 vote last month to exempt existing clinics from the requirement prompted a spontaneous celebration by critics of the regulations.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Allyson K. Tysinger had told the board that the law passed by the General Assembly specifically mandated the tougher building standards.
The regulations still must go to the governor, who could order the board to reconsider.