Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has called for a formal review of the strict state health regulations levied against abortion clinics that he said were both "extreme and punitive."
The review ordered on Monday in Richmond, Va., could give the state's health board an opportunity to undo the stringent codes implemented by Virginia's previous Republican administration in 2013. Those rules were responsible for closing five of the state's 23 abortion clinics.
"I am concerned that the extreme and punitive regulations adopted last year jeopardize the ability of most women's health centers to keep their doors open and place in jeopardy the health and reproductive rights of Virginia women," said McAuliffe.
Conservative advocacy groups blasted the governor’s moves and labeled McAuliffe’s actions as “political payback” to lobbyists.
“The governor’s blatant politicization of a public health issue is one more example of his lack of concern for the women of Virginia,” wrote Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, in a statement released on Monday.
Governor McAuliffe has frequently pledged to stand like a "brick wall" against laws that would undercut women's rights to abortions in the state.