In a huge victory for reproductive rights on Monday, the Virginia Board of Health voted to eliminate burdensome and unconstitutional restrictions imposed on reproductive health centers in the state.
The board scrapped, in an 11-4 vote, Virginia’s regulations which would have required abortion clinics to adhere to the same regulations as surgical centers, the costs of which would have forced many of the centers to shut down.
According to the Washington Post:
The board had signaled months ago that it would lift the requirements for 14 existing clinics but impose them on any new ones. But in an 11-to-4 vote Monday, it decided that the construction requirements should not apply to any of the state’s clinics.
The decision follows a Supreme Court ruling in June that struck down abortion-clinic regulations in Texas. It also fulfills a central campaign promise of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who said during the 2013 campaign that he would be a “brick wall” against abortion restrictions.
“I want to thank the Virginia Board of Health for working to repeal onerous regulations designed solely to reduce or outright remove access to essential reproductive health services for women across the Commonwealth,” McAuliffe said in a written statement. “This vote demonstrates to the rest of the United States and the world that Virginia is a community where people can live, find employment, and start a family without politicians interfering with decisions that should be made by women and their doctors.”
This is yet another victory for those who believe that access to abortion services should remain safe and legal in the United States, but it comes on the heels of years of attacks on women’s rights from conservative politicians.
In recent years, reproductive rights have been under siege by Republicans all across the country, particularly when it comes to Planned Parenthood, which has been attacked in states all across the country. Even though the organization is legally prohibited from using federal money for abortion services, right-wing politicians have fought tirelessly for the group to be defunded, promising their supporters that it would solve all of our country’s fiscal woes.
During the presidential campaign, Republican nominee Donald Trump has even said that women who have abortions should face criminal punishments and that he, too, would defund Planned Parenthood.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.