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Ahead of key vote, pro-choice advocates rally for recusal of Board of Health appointee

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Abortion rights took center stage at a small protest held Tuesday. With signs in hand, pro- choice advocates stood outside VCU Medical Center, calling for a member of the Board of Health to remove himself from an upcoming vote on abortion clinics.

In July, Governor Bob McDonnell appointed Dr. John Seeds to the Board of Health. The board is set to decide the fate of 20 abortion clinics across Virginia on September 14th. Protesters say Dr. Seeds known, anti-abortion stance is a conflict of interest and that he should recuse himself from the decision-making process.

“We think he is not unbiased enough to serve on the Board of Health,” said protester, Shelley Abrams. “Clearly, his only purpose for being there is to influence abortion clinic regulations and make it harder for clinics to stay open.”

Governor McDonnell refuted the claim that Seeds was appointed to the board in an attack against abortion clinics. Instead, McDonnell touted Seeds’ expertise in the medical as the reason for Seeds’ appointment to the Virginia Board of Health.

“Dr. Seeds is a very well-respected doctor and obstetrician,”  said McDonnell. “I suppose they would be happy if I only appointed people who were pro-choice; I don’t use those tests. It’s the Board of Health and they have a number of duties- one of those is enforcing the clinic regulation bill that passed last year, but their main duties are a number of things that have to do with health, and safety and public welfare.”

CBS 6 reached out to Dr. Seeds for a comment, but we were told he was unavailable.

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