Richmond, VA -- On the 41st anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which guaranteed a woman’s right to make personal and private decisions about whether to have an abortion, the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health and the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition call on the new administration of Governor McAuliffe, Lt. Governor Northam, and Attorney General Herring to ensure the rights guaranteed in Roe.
Rosemary Codding, Director of the Falls Church Healthcare Center, said, “We need to ensure that politicians cannot interfere with medical decisions that are rightfully between a woman and her doctor. Unfortunately, some legislators have wasted no time introducing budget amendments and bills that interfere in a woman’s private medical decisions, resuming their previous efforts to deprive women of basic reproductive health care and place a politician between a woman and her doctor. They’re ignoring a key lesson of the 2012 and 2013 elections - that women will not accept attacks on their access to reproductive health care.”
Tomorrow, these Virginia coalitions will celebrate the 41st anniversary of Roe, and urge the new administration to take two actions:  protect women’s reproductive freedom from new political attacks and keep women’s health care centers open in the face of burdensome and medically inappropriate TRAP regulations designed to close women’s health centers.
In March 2011, former Governor McDonnell signed SB 924, a bill that classified women’s health centers in the Commonwealth as a category of hospitals, subjecting them to new regulations created by the Department of Health. These laws are commonly referred to as "TRAP laws,” which stands for “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers.”
Virginia’s TRAP law and the medically inappropriate and onerous regulations that resulted from the deeply flawed Board of Health’s rule-making process played a key role in the closure of one women’s health care center in Virginia, and more closures are expected unless swift action is taken to remove the medically unnecessary TRAP burdens. In addition to providing abortion services, these centers offer a wide-range of low-cost services to women, including: routine gynecology services, contraception, cancer screenings, STIs (sexually transmitted infection) testing, and prenatal care, amongst others.
Jill Abbey, Administrator at the Richmond Medical Center for Women, said, “Laws that target only abortion providers have nothing to do with the safe delivery of services for women and everything to do with legislators’ efforts to restrict access to reproductive healthcare. Women’s health care center closures due to TRAP will place an undue burden on a woman’s right to decide – a right that needs more protection than ever on this anniversary of Roe. Now is the time for Virginia’s new statewide officials to stand up for Virginia women.”
Public opinion proves that Virginians are ready to stop the attacks and move forward in advancing a strong, proactive agenda that will promote healthy women and families across the Commonwealth. The Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health and the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition call upon the new administration to take action to ensure all Virginia women have access to reproductive healthcare.
The Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health and the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition are made up of advocacy and health care organizations that protect women’s access to safe and legal abortion services around Virginia. The Coalitions include: AAUW of Virginia, ACLU of Virginia, Falls Church Healthcare Center, Feminist Majority Foundation, League of Women Voters of Virginia, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia, Richmond Medical Center for Women, Virginia NOW, and ACTION-VA.