Your Story Can Keep VA’s Health Centers Open

BOARD OF HEALTH MEETS DECEMBER 5 FOR ANOTHER VOTE AFFECTING WOMEN’S HEALTH CENTERS! GET YOUR STORY IN AS SOON AS YOU CAN TO HELP IN THE TESTIMONIAL EFFORT TO PREVENT TRAP.

In an effort to highlight the potential impact of health center closures due to TRAP, we are actively recruiting patients and impacted women to share their stories with us. Thus far, we have collected stories around a first visit to get birth control, cancer screenings that led to early diagnosis, and choosing a women’s health provider because it was a trusted place to go.

Ultimately, we want to make sure our stories are representative of the women across the Commonwealth and that Planned Parenthood/Abortion Rights Coalition have enough stories to pull from for Board of Health meetings, reporters, and the General Assembly.

To do that, we ask you to contribute your story. Or, ask a friend to contribute hers. There are many reasons women and families access these health centers. The Board of Health, the media, and our representatives need to be made unable to deny the quality and trusted care that women in Virginia will be denied if the Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers are allowed to take their full effect.

At this link you may write your story, state your levels of comfort concerning privacy and publication, and/or share a video of you telling your story.

We encourage you to share this post/email with your friends and colleagues who support choice, responsible family planning, healthy families and children, and access to reasonably priced health care. The Coalition is particularly interested in stories about sexual and reproductive health care.

Please, contribute and share.

For women,
Simone Roberts, Historian / ERA Coordinator
Virginia NOW

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.

Heads Up! The General Assembly Has Convened. Do You Know Who Your Legislators Are?

The 2011 session of the Virginia General Assembly started January 12th. It’s a 46-day session that will be dominated by the budget, transportation, and redistricting. As for NOW members’ priority issues, legislators can pass helpful and empowering legislation – or disastrous restrictions such as those aimed at further restricting reproductive health care.
Virginia NOW will be working hard with our allies to pass the good bills and defeat the bad ones. Please do your part! 

  • Know the names and contact info for your delegate and your senator. Find them here.
  • Check our facebook page frequently for action alerts, sign up for our Twitter feed and watch for our emails. Click here for our  facebook page.
  • When we send out alerts, please contact your representatives.

We are proud that the NOW-sponsored Equal Rights Amendment will be introduced!

Along with the ERA, we will be advocating for:

  • women’s safety – improved protective orders so that we will be better able to prevent another brutal assault such as the one that resulted in the death of UVA athlete Yeardley Love;
  • women’s health – the defeat of the unnecessary TRAP (Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers) bill, which would result in the closing of many clinics;
  • women’s lives – stronger laws against human trafficking – more properly called sexual slavery – that victimizes innocent women, as well as men and children. 

NOW members and friends will join other activists for two important Lobby Days in Richmond:

January 27 – Pro-Choice Lobby Day, organized by the Pro-Choice Coalition. Time: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm. Place: General Assembly Building, 9th Street and Broad Street, Richmond. We’ll talk to legislators, have a rally, and attend committee hearings.  
Planned Parenthood has buses from various locations. Click here to check it out. 

February 2 – Women’s Lobby Day, organized by the League of Women Voters of Virginia with AAUW of Virginia. Time: 8:30 am. Place: General Assembly Building, Senate Room 3 West, Richmond

Important! You do not need to know how to lobby to be a part of these important action days. We’ll have fact sheets, talking points, and training. So please join us!!

For complete information, contact Marj Signer, VA NOW legislative v-p, at marj.signer@gmail.com.

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