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.

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2 Comments

  1. Laura Newman says:

    I think an update is needed here. Didn’t the Rs move in yesterday and impose onerous regs on abortion facilities in Virginia, jeopardizing the continuation of many facilities in the state?

    • Noah Kaplan says:

      Yes, that appears to be the case.

      http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2011/03/speedy_process_for_new_abortio.html

      Republicans in the Virginia Senate, aided by two anti-abortion Democrats, voted through the law that will allow the State Board of Health to change the classification of abortion clinics, and thus possibly force many clinics to close. The rules are being issued on a rushed timetable, which gives the Governor’s and Attorney General’s offices much more control over the process, rather than non-ideological state health officials or the State Board controlled by Kaine appointees. This speedy process will also limit the amount of public comment that is received about the proposed changes. There is little doubt that this process will be challenged in court, so I will certainly be on the lookout for future events that deserve mention on Amicus.

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