Professor and administrative law scholar John Paul Jones is urging members of the state board of health to use their own judgment on new abortion clinic regulations up for review this week.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has said – through an office memo – that he will not certify the board’s regulations if they exempt existing abortion clinics from stricter regulations required by 2011 legislation. Jones, in a Sept. 3 letter summarizing a planned law review essay, said the health board is not required to accept Cuccinelli’s judgment for its own.
“Nothing in the Constitution of Virginia even suggests that its framers intended to bestow on the Attorney General the power to substitute his view of what the Health Code dictates,” Jones wrote.
Under a governor’s executive order, proposed state administrative regulations go through a review process, including attorney general certification that the agency has the legal authority to promulgate the new rules.
The attorney general’s office claims the proposed “grandfather” clause for stricter abortion regulations conflicts with a statute prescribing compliance with national hospital standards.
Jones, law professor at the University of Richmond, is a leading authority on Virginia administrative law. His letter follows a similar comment from the ACLU of Virginia.
Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate are expected to turn out when the state board of health meets Friday for reconsideration of the proposed regulations.