This morning, dozens of reproductive health activists were out in full force at the Senate Education and Health Committee hearing on the Reproductive Health Protection Act. The committee reported the bill on a vote of 9-6, sending it to the Senate Floor for final passage before it goes to the Governor’s desk. The Reproductive Health Protection Act is a commonsense bill intended to roll back the bulk of politically-motivated restrictions on abortion access that have no basis in patient health and safety and only serve to eliminate access to safe, legal abortion care. The bill would eliminate medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access like the TRAP restrictions that regulate the number of parking spaces and the width of hallways in abortion clinics.
Dozens of reproductive health and rights advocates gathered at the hearing in support of the bill, including activists, patient advocates, and medical professionals.
“The legally mandated twenty-four-hour waiting period, stretched far too long for me and directly impacted when and where I was able to receive access to abortion care,” said Emily Himes, a patient advocate. “It had absolutely no health and safety benefit for me but quite the contrary as this delay forced me to seek asylum and healthcare at a later time, at a higher cost, which affected my work, my well-being and challenged every single one of my resources.”
“As a nurse practitioner, I routinely perform clinical procedures for my patients such as endometrial biopsies and IUD insertions & removals. I’m familiar with not only the procedural aspects of abortion care, but also the monitoring and management of it,” said Melanie Ziff, a family nurse practitioner. “Today, I am not able to provide abortion care to my patients, not because I lack the knowledge base or the skill set, but because of political interference. I worked hard to become a nurse practitioner so that I could work to the full scope of my practice and provide the full scope of care to everyone I see. I want to live in a Virginia where my daughter — and my son — can make these very private and often complex decisions with their families, their loved ones, and the healthcare professionals that they know and trust.”
The Reproductive Health Protection Act will next be heard by the Senate Education and Health Committee tomorrow morning.
The Reproductive Health Protection Act removes political interference between a patient and her doctor and gets rid of the medically unnecessary restrictions for a patient seeking access to safe and legal abortion including:
- Requiring patients to undergo a forced, medically unnecessary ultrasound.
- The 24-hour mandatory delay, which often stretches for far longer.
- Mandated biased counseling.
- The requirement that abortion care is performed solely by physicians and blocks qualified nurse practitioners from doing so, despite their rigorous post-graduate training and extensive clinical experience.
- The medically unnecessary targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP) that regulate the number of parking spaces and the width of hallways for abortion clinics.