The Washington Post this week reminds readers that abortion rights can’t defend themselves. Apparently if Democrats and Pro-Choice groups do not keep an extremely watchful eye on their anti-abortion counterparts, those rights, or at least the ability to exercise them, can vanish quickly.
Republicans in the Virginia House began with a seemingly innocuous bill regulating health care, not on the radar of pro-choice advocates, and amended it until it became a behemoth that would impose suffocating costs on abortion providers and possibly force many of the state’s clinics to close. The bill requires clinics to be regulated as hospitals, thus saddling them with a litany of onerous facilities requirements with which most are far out of compliance. Though Planned Parenthood has remodeled some of its clinics in anticipation of this type of legislation, many of the state’s clinics will not be able to bear the multi-million dollar price tag.
Fortunately, since the state’s health board is currently controlled by Kaine appointees, the clinics are safe for now. As the new Republican governor appoints more members to the board, the fate of the clinics becomes less certain. This should be a reminder that the right to choose to have an abortion is not the same thing as the ability to access a medical provider to facilitate that choice. Without reasonable access to information and medical services, women throughout the country are denied any real choice. Abortion rights advocates must continue to vigilant of these Trojan Horse measures to deny women their constitutional right to their own medical decisions.