Protect Access to Women’s Health Care – Red Tape Will “TRAP” Women

Know The Facts About the TRAP Act
Women require access to safe, legal abortion care, but women’s health care providers in Virginia are under attack. Anti-choice lawmakers have passed a “TRAP,” or “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers,” law. This law subjects women’s health care centers to new regulations that have nothing to do with the safe delivery of services for women. These new regulations could restrict access to reproductive health. Some health centers could close, while costs at remaining centers could skyrocket. Without providers or affordable options, access to safe, legal abortion care in Virginia could be cut off.

FACT: Laws that target only abortion providers have nothing to do with the safe delivery of services for women
and everything to do with legislators’ efforts to restrict access to reproductive healthcare. Placing regulations on women’s health centers is a political strategy embraced by anti-choice groups as a way to prevent access to abortion services. Here’s how it works: Regulations enforced by the Department of Health could be changed to include architectural, procedural, staffing, and equipment requirements that will not improve women’s health and safety and are unnecessary for ensuring safe first-trimester abortion services. Providers could lose their license to practice because of an inability to meet regulations that have nothing to do with women’s health and safety.

FACT: Women’s health centers in Virginia already follow state and federal safety regulations. The high standard of care provided by women’s health centers is proven by their impressive safety record. Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures. Of women who have first-trimester abortions, 97% report no complications at all.

FACT: Abortion providers in Virginia also offer comprehensive health care services. Overregulation will
limit access to a wide range of preventive reproductive health care services provided by women’s health clinics, including
life-saving cancer screenings, family planning, and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment.

FACT: The Virginia Board of Health will vote on September 15 on new regulations. You can influence their decision to pass regulations that will not “TRAP” women. Encourage the Board to vote for regulations that are based solely on medical and public health interests. Regulations that are not evidence-based will threaten the existence of women’s health centers and thereby jeopardize the health and safety of women in Virginia.

Take Action : Send a message to Dr. Karen Remley, the Virginia Health Commissioner, that these regulations must be based on evidence-based medical practices that advance the public health. Below is a sample message (but feel free to use your own words). Please email your message to joe.hilbert@vdh.virginia.gov. Put “Protect access to women’s health care” or something similar in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name and address.

Dear Dr. Remley,

I am writing regarding the Department of Health’s development of proposed regulations for women’s health centers.

Medically inappropriate and unnecessarily burdensome regulations would restrict access to essential health care services for the women of Virginia and further marginalize young, low-income, uninsured and minority women by decreasing their health care options.

The high standard of care provided by women’s health centers is proven by their impressive safety record. Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures. Overregulation will limit access to a wide range of preventive reproductive health care services provided by women’s health clinics, including life-saving cancer screenings, family planning, and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment.

If regulations placed on women’s health centers are based upon evidence-based medical practices that advance the public health, then women in the Commonwealth will be able to maintain access to vital health care from trusted medical providers. It is my hope that any additional regulations will be based purely on medicine and science and will not impede women’s access to essential health care.

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