Virginia Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring says new strict building standards should not be applied retroactively to existing abortion clinics, contradicting advice given by his Republican predecessor.
Herring issued an opinion Monday to the state health commissioner. The standards would treat abortion clinics as hospitals and cover issues such as hallway widths and closet sizes. Herring says applying them would essentially shut down abortion services in the state.
Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office said the opposite in 2012.
State officials say that of the 18 clinics operating in Virginia, five meet the code for new hospitals and 13 are operating under a variance.
Abortion rights supporters say the building requirements were designed to put existing clinics out of business. Abortion opponents say they are intended to protect women's health.