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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Elections & Legislation : Women

Abortion Ban Introduced in VA Legislature - and Much More

The Virginia General Assembly has just begun, but the bills that affect a woman's right to choose have been piling up....

While the 2007 General Assembly session has been underway for less than a week, legislators are hard at work already. Issues that are critical to constituents, such as transportation, security, healthcare, and education, have taken the back-burner for certain legislators intent on eliminating a woman’s right to choose.
No, we haven’t rolled back the clocks 30 years – we’re preparing to fight another battle in a war that has waged since the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. During this ‘short session’ of 46 days, Planned Parenthood will fight restrictions affecting your reproductive rights ranging from an abortion ban, restrictions on family planning, sexuality education, and much more. Below, I have highlighted a few bills that we’ll need your help in fighting against or for.

House Bill 2124, introduced by Del. Bob Marshall (R-13), states that if and when Roe v. Wade is overturned by the US Supreme Court, the Virginia law of June 30, 1970 will be reinstated, criminalizing abortion. To read the full text, click here.

This bill follows what 15 other states have done, which is to introduce so-called ‘trigger’ laws. A trigger law is a law that will be on the books pending the overturning of a previous Supreme Court decision. This bill does nothing to prevent abortion but criminalizes doctors who perform them. While some Americans may be opposed to abortion, the majority of the public are against criminalizing the procedure. This legislation, like most of Del. Marshall’s, is out of touch with mainstream America, who favor preventing abortion through common sense prevention methods.

Another piece of legislation we’ll be facing this year is House Bill 1883, Targeted Regulations for Abortion Providers (TRAP). This bill, also introduced by Del. Marshall, requires any medical facility providing 25 or more abortions per year to comply with the regulation requirements of ambulatory surgical centers. To read the full text, click here

While on the surface it appears that this bill would do more to protect women’s health, the exact opposite is true. The bill would make clinics, like Planned Parenthood, update their clinics with costly ‘improvements’ that do nothing to protect a woman’s health. If passed, Planned Parenthood’s services would either become cost-prohibitive (patients would not be able to afford our services) or we would be forced to close our doors. Currently, only 2 out of 20 clinics in Virginia meet these architectural requirements!

But, don’t lose all hope! There is also some woman-friendly legislation being introduced by our friends in the General Assembly. Our most exciting piece of legislation is House Bill 2221, introduced by Del. Kris Amundson (D-44). The Birth Control Protection Act (BCPA) defines birth control as FDA-approved methods of contraception and protects birth control from law regulating abortion in Virginia (mandatory 24-hour delay, state-scripted counseling, refusal clause, and parental consent). This bill is critical to our efforts to educate both legislators and the public about what birth control is and isn’t. Stay tuned for the progression of this exciting bill!

To learn more about the pro- and anti-choice legislation being debated at the Virginia General Assembly, please visit here

There are many ways people can get involved to help Planned Parenthood during the session. A few volunteer opportunities include: writing a letter to your legislator, writing a letter to the editor, helping us make phone calls to constituents around the state, and most importantly, attending Pro-Choice Lobby Day. Details are listed below.

What: Pro-Choice Lobby Day 2007
Date: Thursday, January 25, 2007
Time: 9:00 am-2:00 pm
Where: the General Assembly Building (9th and Broad Streets)

For more information, please go to: here

By registering to attend, you will receive updates on important details as the day draws closer. Also, by registering, you will be COUNTED and help us make this the biggest lobby day ever. If you have any questions, please contact Courtney Jones, Grassroots Organizer, at Courtney.jones (at) ppfa.org or (804) 355-4358 x 14.
 
 


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