Va.-Based City Council Passes Ordinance Requiring Special Use Permits for Abortion Clinics

April 30, 2015 — The City Council in Manassas, Va., on Monday voted to approve an ordinance (O-2015-15) that will require abortion clinics and certain other medical care facilities to receive a special use permit from the Council before they may open in any of the city's commercial districts, Potomac Local News reports.

According to the Potomac Local News, the requirements will apply to any non-hospital medical care facility that provides services in addition to being a doctor's office -- these additional services include pharmacies, laboratories and physical therapy centers.


Katherine Greenier of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia's Reproductive Health Project said the measure aims to restrict women's health care access. She stated, "City zoning laws should not make it disproportionally difficult to access this kind of care."

Other advocates warned that the changes would have political consequences and promised to vote against any of the councilmembers who voted to approve the measure.

Meanwhile, Manassas Planning/Zoning Services Manager Matt Arcieri said the change was one of many updates to various laws mandated by the city council for the first time in almost 70 years (Kiser, Potomac Local News, 4/28).