From Progress Virginia:
Pro-Choice Coalition Reacts to Mixed Decision In Abortion Access Lawsuit
Richmond, Virginia—Judge Henry Hudson released his opinion in the Falls Church Medical Center vs. Oliver case, ruling that certain laws singling out abortion facilities are unconstitutional, including one that limited non-surgical second trimester abortions to hospitals only and extensive facilities regulations. The mixed decision left other burdensome restrictions in place, including laws that prevent people from accessing abortion care when they need it. The case challenged restrictions designed to make it more difficult for people to access abortion like mandatory ultrasounds, 24 hour waiting periods, requirements that only physicians perform abortion procedures, and other burdensome laws. Though the court’s decision provided some relief against some of these restrictions, it overlooked extensive evidence demonstrating how harmful the remaining restrictions are and the very real burdens people face in trying to access abortion care.
“We believe that everyone, regardless of income, zip code, race, immigration status, and gender identity, should be able to access abortion and make decisions about their own bodies,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “It’s disappointing that the decision today left in place several restrictions that make accessing necessary medical care difficult for people in our communities. We will continue to fight for abortion access until everyone can get the health care they need when they need it, no exceptions.”
“We are disappointed that Judge Henry Hudson’s opinion disregarded the expertise of the vast majority of the medical community who support sound, medically-appropriate, high-quality, patient-centered care, and oppose medically unnecessary laws and regulations which present an undue burden to a woman seeking an abortion,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “Virginia’s anti-abortion laws have everything to do with politics and ideology, not science and medicine and were intentially designed by anti-abortion politicians to shutoff a woman’s access to safe and legal abortion care. Each and every patient must have access to the full range of reproductive healthcare services, and laws such as forced 24-hour waiting periods and mandatory ultrasounds confer no medical benefit and only serve to disrespect and harm Virginia women. We will not rest until every patient has access to the abortion care they need, where they live, free from shame and stigma. We look forward to a Virginia General Assembly which respects a patient’s ability to make their own personal healthcare decisions without the interference of politicians.”
“Today’s mixed decision from Judge Hudson is a disappointment for us at Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, “said Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance. “We are glad the court relaxed Virginia’s restrictions on second trimester abortion care and we look forward to providing quality care affordably into the second trimester. We are disappointed, however, that the Judge did not see clearly how the other restrictions he left in force are not supported by medical evidence and place undue burdens on families in the Commonwealth. Two trip mandatory delay laws, inaccurate medical information, forced ultrasounds and restrictions with physician only laws harm our patients. These barriers have a disproportionate effect on people of color, rural communities, young people, and those who struggle financially. These are the Virginians who lost today – and who deserve our advocacy now more than ever. As always, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance will continue our fight to bring access to high quality care to all who need it in the Commonwealth.”
“At Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, we work every day to break down barriers to reproductive health care for everyone across Virginia. Today’s decision includes some encouraging progress, including recognizing that second trimester abortions are safe outside the hospital setting, and that laws limiting them to hospitals are unconstitutional and have seriously harmed Virginians,” said Jenny Black, Board Chair, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. “At the same time, the decision leaves in place several burdensome, medically unnecessary restrictions that will continue to pose hurdles to patients. We’ll continue to fight to expand access to safe, legal abortion wherever we can – in the courts, in the state house, and at the ballot box.”