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Advocates Deliver Over 5500 Comments Urging VA Board of Health to Roll Back Sham Restrictions


From Progress VA:

Without Board action, politically motivated restrictions could close more health centers 

Richmond, VA – Women’s health advocates delivered over 5500 public comments opposing the politically motivated sham restrictions on abortion access Wednesday. The public comment period regarding proposed amendments to the restrictions runs through July 1st. Included in the comments were letters from medical professionals who advocated for the regulations to be based in medical evidence, not political ideology.

Advocates are asking for the restrictions to be amended to reflect medical evidence and best practices, not politics and ideology. The current restrictions are designed to shut down women’s health centers, which provide comprehensive reproductive health care, like cancer screenings and birth control, as well as safe, legal first-trimester abortion, to women across the Commonwealth.

Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia Education Fund:

“In the wake of a landmark Supreme Court decision for reproductive rights, Virginia has an opportunity to lead the nation in rolling back sham restrictions. Just like in Texas, Virginia’s clinic shutdown restrictions were politically motivated. Medical professionals oppose the restrictions because they do not reflect evidence-based medicine. We’re here today to say enough and demand the Board of Health amend these restrictions to ensure continued access to abortion in the commonwealth.”

Cianti Stewart-Reid, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia:

Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court made clear that politicians cannot pass laws to block access to safe and legal abortion. We have an opportunity now in Virginia to amend these politically motivated restrictions to reflect medical best practice and today Virginians are speaking up to demand just that.”

Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia:

“We started this fight in 2011 and five years later we hope that the voices thousands of Virginians will finally be heard. We implore the Board of Health to heed the Supreme Court’s ruling and end these politically motivated attacks on women’s health and rights here in the Commonwealth. Clearly, clinic shutdown laws, like those in Texas and here in Virginia, are not about women’s health and safety. As we’ve said all along, the law and regulations were driven by politics and ideology with the purpose of shutting down abortion providers and ensuring a de facto ban on abortion. The veil has been lifted and it is time to bring reason and evidenced-based medicine back to this process.”

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia:

“Current restrictions on Virginia’s abortion providers are about politics, not medicine. Doctors, health care professionals and a majority of Virginians oppose TRAP restrictions because they know the rules aren’t needed to keep women safe.”

Alejandra Pablos, Field Coordinator with NLIRH Virginia Latina Advocacy Network:

On Monday the Supreme Court struck down similar provisions in Texas because the justices saw what we’ve long known: these restrictions harm—not help—women. We are committed to preserving SALUD, DIGNIDAD, y JUSTICIA for all Latixns and will continue to fight until we scrap TRAP once and for all.”

Virginians can continue to submit public comments through July 1st online at http://act.progressva.org/sign/scraptrap2016/?t=2&akid=3826.1836.O3whAw The Board of Health will meet September 15th to vote on the proposed amendments. When the clinic shutdown law passed the General Assembly in 2011, there were 21 health centers providing first trimester abortions in the commonwealth. Today there are 14. Since just 2010, the General Assembly has seen over 75 proposed restrictions on women’s health.