Since he became governor in January, McAuliffe has named five members of the board of health, and the agency will conduct the review. The board voted in 2012 to exempt existing clinics from the tougher standards but backed off when Attorney General Ken Cucinelli, the man McAuliffe defeated for governor, told members the state would not defend them if they were sued because of the decision.
The legislature voted in 2011 to put clinics under the same regulations as outpatient surgical centers, effectively imposing hospital standards on them. Abortion providers said the new regulations, which include changes in record-keeping as well as wider hallways and doors, could shut some clinics down.
Cuccinelli, a longtime abortion foe as a Republican state senator and attorney general, lost the gubernatorial race to McAuliffe last year by just over two percentage points. McAuliffe campaigned on rolling back the clinic regulations.
All state regulations in Virginia are supposed to be reviewed every four years, so the abortion rules would have been reviewed in about two years.