RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Abortion rights organizations say a legal opinion by the Virginia attorney general could prompt the shutdown of most of the state's abortion clinics.
Ken Cuccinelli II has concluded Virginia has the authority to impose hospital-type standards on clinics that perform abortions, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Abortion rights advocates say the move could force 17 of the state's 21 abortion clinics to close because they cannot afford to meet the stricter standards.
"These so-called regulations are only an attempt to shut down abortion clinics in the Commonwealth of Virginia," said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.
Cuccinelli's opinion came in response to request from two Virginia lawmakers who asked whether the state had the authority to regulate facilities that provide first-trimester abortions and the medical personnel who perform them.
Cuccinelli's legal opinion is not binding and the Board of Health must decide how to proceed.