First-Person Account of Hearing That Passed Most Burdensome Clinic Regulations in Country

By Corrina Beall- Political Associate Feminist Majority PAC and former president, Richmond NOW

James Edmondson Jr. was the lone advocate for reproductive justice on the Board of Health Thursday, September 15,, as the Board voted 12-1 to adopt the most burdensome regulations on abortion providers in the nation.

Edmondson cast the single vote against enacting the regulations after
three hours of battling for a series of amendments to relax the
regulations. One amendment would have exempted clinics performing
only medical abortions and others were intended to protect patients’
privacy. All but two of his more minor amendments to the regulations
were unsuccessful.

“I think access will wind up being at risk in many parts of the state
because of this, and that’s too bad,” Edmondson told reporters after
the vote. Edmondson said he believes restricting access to abortion is
the primary aim of the General Assembly-mandated regulations.

Lawmakers passed legislation last winter requiring licensure and
extensive regulation of abortion clinics. The Attorney General’s
office and Gov. McDonnell must sign off on the temporary regulations, which
will remain in effect while permanent ones are developed. Edmondson
expressed that he is not optimistic that the permanent regulations
will be any fairer to women.

A packed boardroom of over 100 concerned private citizens witnessed
the vote on abortion regulations after a heated 90 minute period of
public comment. These are some of the afternoon’s highlights:

Nurse Practitioner Gail Francis, who opened Virginia’s first abortion
clinic in the same year as Roe v. Wade in 1973, said her experiences
before abortion was legalized as a nurse in the ER “put me on a
journey to make sure no woman senselessly dies from this simple
medical procedure.”

Rosemary Codding, veteran abortion rights activist and founder and
director of Patient Services at Falls Church Healthcare Center,
challenged the Board, “it is never the wrong time to do the right

Virginia League of Planned Parenthood spokesman Tom Sheilds testified
as a father, telling the Board, “regulations intrude on the rights of
Americans, including the rights of my three young daughters.”

Virginia Delegate Charnielle Herring, chair of the Virginia
Legislature’s Reproductive Health Caucus, called for a
depoliticization of provider regulations: “what is important is that
we have medically accurate and scientifically sound regulations.”

Jill Abby of Richmond Medical Center for Women told the Board that the
regulation’s handling of both patient and provider privacy was
unacceptable. “These confidentiality issues conflict with medical
ethics and federal law,” she said to the packed Board room.

Activist Eric Scott asked Board members of regulations characterized
as the strictest in the nation, “is this what you want Virginia to be
known for?”

Youth activist Kate Bowler told the Board, “I think it’s important for
you to see my face and know that as a young woman of reproductive age,
I am against these regulations.”

Feminist Majority Political Associate Corrina Beall said, “the young
women of Virginia rely on these services” including testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, cancer screenings and contraception counselling and provision. “The families of Virginia
rely on these services and my generation relies on these services. Do
not take them away.”

Virginia NOW Meets Saturday, Sept. 10, in Fredericksburg – Join Us

Virginia NOW Fall State Council Meeting
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011
11 am to 4 pm
England Run Library, 806 Lyons Blvd., Fredericksburg

Delegate Charniele Herring Will Tell Us About the Onerous “TRAP” Law, Other Legislation, & What We As Feminist Activists Can Be Doing

Lunch will be provided. RSVPs are essential so we will know how much to order. Please indicate if you want the vegetarian option. RSVP to President Diana Egozcue at

We have a full agenda, including:
Actions regarding to TRAP regulations (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers)

Rape on Virginia campuses – Susan Rusell, who founded UVA Victims of Rape to redress the outrageous refusal of UVA to prosecute her daughter’s rapist, will tell us about her struggle to pass legislation to break the silence of UVA and other Virginia universities over rape on their campuses.

The ERA – Get involved in Virginia NOW’s campaign to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

Virginia NOW PAC – Our political action committee is identifying and endorsing candidates who share our values. This election cycle is urgent – anti-choice anti-equality candidates need only a few votes to take over the entire General Assembly and give Gov McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli everything they want (and we don’t).

Title IX – Our newest campaign will collect data on discrimination in Virginia higher ed.

Donate Today to the Virginia NOW PAC!

The Virginia NOW PAC is the only political action committee in Virginia devoted solely to women’s rights. You can contribute to the Virginia NOW PAC through Click and Pledge, our safe, secure system.

Support the PAC – support your feminist values!

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