By Kathy Greenier, ACLU of Virginia Reproductive Freedom Project Director
In 2012 the Virginia Board of Health approved regulations that subject Virginia’s abortion providers to medically unnecessary and burdensome design and construction requirements. These regulations have nothing to do with patient safety and everything to do with limiting a woman’s access to abortion. Finally, there’s some good news. On Monday, Governor McAuliffe announced that he has asked the Virginia Board of Health to immediately begin reviewing these regulations, commonly referred to as Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP). Why are these regulations such a big deal? Because women’s health care centers must shut down if they can’t make or afford the medically unnecessary changes to their facilities.
As we wrote before, public officials, including the Board of Health, should make health care policy decisions based on medical fact rather than religious or political preferences. The Board of Health should be focused on one thing – ensuring the health of all Virginians. Unfortunately, by placing medically unnecessary and burdensome requirements on women’s health care providers, TRAP has the opposite effect.
We commend Governor McAuliffe for calling on the Board of Health to review these medically unnecessary regulations and for placing women’s health above politics. Now it’s time for the Board of Health to act quickly to rescind these politically driven regulations.