Normally I’m ok with the fact that I am originally from Virginia. People like to joke about how it’s a southern state and my response is always the same. I liked growing up there. It’s got beautiful scenery and (the area I’m from) is right near D.C. so there is plenty to do. Apparently, the VA board of health decided it needed to make my defense of the state a lot harder to do because they have approved the ridiculous TRAP laws state lawmakers recently passed.
Last week the board heard comments from health officials, providers and abortion rights activists to provide a plethora of testimony and evidence that these regulations will NOT protect women’s health any more then existing regulations already do. It would be ridiculous for anyone to oppose something that might actually help protect patients.
The thing is these regulations don’t do that. The only real effect these regulations will have is to shutter many, if not all of the 22 clinics in the state. These new regulations include room sizes, area of the space OUTSIDE of the procedure room, the number of toilets and specific type of sinks clinics will now have to have. Seriously, they are mandating the type of sink that must be used? Someone please explain to me how the type of sink or number of toilets in the building will in anyway impact patient safety? I suppose a limited number of toilets could impact patient comfort, but to my knowledge there hasn’t been any kind of “we want more toilets!” movement so that doesn’t seem to be an actual issue.
On a board of 13 people only seemed to have any common sense. According to the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Newswire, James Edmondson Jr. was the only board member to vote against the regulations, which he did after trying in vain to get amendments added to lessen the prohibitive nature of the regulations. According to him the goal of the General Assembly is to limit access to abortion and it seems they are succeeding. It seems that although Virginia is for lovers, they only want you if you keep an unintended pregnancy.
Next up the law goes to VA Governor Bob McDonnell to pass or veto. While he is widely expected to pass it the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health, a group formed specifically to fight against these restrictions, is holding a rally on October 15th to try and convince Governor McDonnell to at least alter to the bill to lessen the restrictions before signing it into law. This would be possible because the law is being passed as an emergency contingency so he has the authority to change anything he feels necessary before passing the law.