A group that includes some members of the Virginia Board of Health intends to file an appeal alleging that the board violated state law last year during the regulatory process it used to change abortion clinic standards.
Victoria Cobb, president of the anti-abortion Family Foundation of Virginia, said Tuesday the lawsuit will be filed within 30 days in Henrico County Circuit Court.
The appeal takes issue with the way the Board of Health last year enacted changes to the state’s code overseeing clinics that provide abortions. The changes largely involved removing standards that most board members agreed placed an undue burden on abortion access.
At issue are not the substantive changes that the board made to state regulations but the way it went about making those changes, Cobb explained during a press event at the Family Foundation’s offices in downtown Richmond.
“Regardless of one’s belief about the need for basic health and safety standards for abortion centers — or of any regulation for that matter — we all have to agree that a regulatory body cannot act outside the law when it wields extraordinary power over business, commerce and health care,” she said.
Cobb claimed that the board broke state law in numerous ways; for example, when it allegedly voted to alter sections of Virginia’s code that were not included in its background document, which is supposed to be posted on the state’s town hall website so the public has enough time to comment.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration was notified of the intention to file the appeal Tuesday, according to Cobb. Appellants in the case include Board of Health members Megan Getter and Henry Kuhlman. Itzel Melendez, a Richmond resident, is also an appellant.
The Family Foundation is not an appellant in the case but is paying Melendez’s legal fees.
Cobb declined to comment on details of the lawsuit itself, as it has not yet been filed.