After considerable arm twisting by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, today the Virginia Board of Health approved medically unnecessary regulations designed to force many women’s health care centers in Virginia to shut their doors. These costly and unprecedented regulations require many women’s centers to meet the building requirements as if they were newly constructed mini-hospitals. The retroactive application of these guidelines to existing health centers is excessive and inappropriate.
While some politicians will try to justify these regulations by claiming they make women safer, the true intent is clear: these provisions are designed to force women’s health care centers to shut their doors.
The Virginia provisions are so extreme that they prompted Dr. Karen Remley, to resign as the state Health Commissioner last October because she recognized that the regulations would make it impossible for her to do her job. And Dr. Remley is not alone in acknowledging the threat these provisions pose to Virginia’s women and families. The new policy has been denounced by the Virginia medical community and the majority of Virginia residents.
While politicians have been trying to outlaw abortion clinics in Virginia for years, it is not the only battleground state. We are seeing a continuation of the War on Women throughout the country. In places like North Dakota, Arkansas, Kansas, and Alabama (and I could go on) politicians are passing extreme laws that would rob women of the services they need to make personal decisions about pregnancy free from political interference.
It’s time for all of us to tell our elected officials to stop interfering in our private decisions and to leave these decisions with a woman, her doctor and her family. Let politicians know that we will hold them accountable at the ballot box if they don’t stop interfering in our personal decisions. We did it in 2012 and we can do it again.