Champions for abortion access are celebrating today as members of the House Courts of Justice Committee voted to pass Delegate Herring’s HB980, the Reproductive Health Protection Act. This bill would get rid of burdensome restrictions like the requirement for a mandatory, medically-unnecessary ultrasound, and the 24-hour waiting period that make it difficult for people across the Commonwealth to access abortion and other reproductive health services.
“Everyone should be able to choose for themselves whether, how, and when to start a family, and access to abortion is what makes that a reality for many people in our community. We’re thrilled that HB980 passed committee and will be voted on the House floor,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “Many people across the Commonwealth have access to abortion in name only. Eliminating these onerous restrictions will go a long way to ensuring that all of us, not just the wealthy few, have the ability to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families.”
“Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. Virginia TRAP imposes rigid and medically unnecessary requirements governing all areas of facility operations and requires clinics to grant unfettered access to inspectors for unannounced, unlimited, warrantless inspections,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance. “We are pleased that the legislators agreed. This is a step in the right direction for reproductive freedom in the Commonwealth.”
Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia said, “Today’s commitment from Virginia legislators are not just to the many Virginians who need and deserve access to abortion care, but for the many advanced practice clinicians who are providing that care across the Commonwealth. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia look forward to a Virginia where once a person has decided to seek abortion care, they are able to do so without delay and under the care of a clinician they know and trust. Legislative champions have fought for this step forward today and we are grateful for their continued leadership.”
“The overwhelming majority of voters in Virginia—72%—trust a woman to make her own reproductive healthcare decisions and do not want politicians interfering. Virginia voters made that clear when they made history in 2019 and elected the first pro-choice majority General Assembly,” Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said. “Now they fully expect their legislators to take urgent action by passing the Reproductive Health Protection Act this session. This will rollback the medically unnecessary restrictions that harm the health and safety of patients and often block them from getting the care they need. This bill is our top priority and Virginia’s first step to securing a future that safeguards access to abortion care and upholds basic rights and justice.”
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 Advanced Practice Clinicians (APC) 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
Since 2011, anti-abortion politicians in Virginia have introduced over 170 medically unnecessary abortion bills and regulations that have politically interfered between a woman and her doctor. 92 percent of Virginia localities have no abortion clinic at all.Nearly 7 in 10 Virginians believe that abortion care should remain safe, legal and accessible. 85 percent of Virginians believe abortion should remain legal.