Red Tape Forces Closure of Popular VA Abortion Clinic

Regulated to death


A women's health care clinic in Fairfax City that performed more abortions than any other location in Virginia has closed, and it's unclear whether it will reopen elsewhere.

The closure, and the clinic's difficulty finding new space, highlight a growing issue in the abortion debate: changes in local and state regulations and standards for abortion clinics.

NOVA Women's Healthcare was in an office building on Eaton Place, just off Route 123 near Interstate 66, since 2006. Antiabortion protesters stood outside the building daily, the clinic was sued twice in the past three years by its landlord, and it likely faced a need to upgrade or move after Virginia changed its regulations to require abortion providers to have hospital-grade facilities.

After finding a possible alternative space in March, the clinic applied for a nonresidential use permit to retrofit that space in another office building. But the permit was denied in May because officials decided parking at the building was not adequate, zoning administrator Michelle Coleman said.