“Delayed vote should be rescheduled as quickly as possible.”
Richmond – In an unexpected change due to a procedural error made by the Virginia Department of Health, the Board of Health was not able to take today’s anticipated vote on amending the state’s sham restrictions on abortion providers. The Board announced it will schedule a special meeting to hold this vote on a yet-to-be-determined date.
The meeting’s public comment period did continue as planned, however, with the Board of Health hearing testimony yet again from medical professionals, legislators, legal experts, and impacted women about why Virginia’s targeted restrictions on abortion providers must be amended and rolled back.
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Executive Director Tarina Keene called on the Board to reschedule their vote on the proposed amendments as quickly as possible in order to address the unconstitutional burden the current regulations place on access to safe, legal abortion services in the Commonwealth.
“Both the regulations and the law that created them still remain on the books and they need to go, permanently,” said Keene. “These sham restrictions have nothing to do with medicine or protecting women’s health, and everything to do with an anti-abortion agenda to shut down clinics. That makes them not only dangerous, but unconstitutional.
“In June, the Supreme Court of the United States stated definitively in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that no restriction on abortion providers can pass constitutional muster unless it offers medical benefits to a woman sufficient to justify the burdens it imposes on her access to abortion. That case concerned a Texas law containing similar medically-unnecessary and politically-motivated clinic shutdown restrictions. As the Board has heard from numerous medical professionals and legal experts, Virginia’s 2011 law and the resulting regulations do not pass this test.
“We urge the Board to reschedule its vote and take action as quickly as possible. The women of Virginia should not have to continue waiting for their state to regulate abortion providers based on medical evidence, rather than on an agenda to cut off access to safe and legal abortion.”