The Burden Is Undue!
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the groundbreaking Supreme Court decision, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The decision found that the burdens a woman faces when trying to access an abortion—like targeted restrictions against abortion providers (known as TRAP laws)—are unconstitutional. It was an amazing victory for women, and has paved the way to repeal sham restrictions across the country, not just in Texas.
According to the Supreme Court, women have the right to access safe and legal abortion. Period.
These sham restrictions that abortion opponents imposed on women’s health clinics that provide abortion—including specifying the width of hallways and the number of parking spaces—are disingenuous and simply designed to shut down clinics and prevent women from accessing the healthcare they need. But the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision changed that and finally brought some common sense and fairness to abortion access.
TRAP Victory in Virginia
Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt was a huge win for women and abortion advocates, and it paved the way for another major victory here in Virginia. In October 2016, we won a five-year battle when the Board of Health voted to rescind the TRAP laws and bring Virginia into accordance with the U.S. Constitution.
But, unfortunately, that victory is now in jeopardy because rabid anti-woman, anti-abortion advocates at the Family Foundation have filed a bogus lawsuit claiming that the Board of Health didn’t follow the correct administrative processes when they rescinded the TRAP laws. Until that lawsuit is resolved, the TRAP laws will still be enforced. These religious zealots know they don’t really have a case, but they will try to drag the case on for as long as possible to prevent women from accessing the healthcare they need. Basically, they are just crossing their fingers that they have a governor more sympathetic to their anti-woman, unconstitutional agenda come January.
These are the same extremists that have pushed members of the General Assembly to consider more than 75 different restrictions designed to prevent women from getting abortions since 2010. Their goal is clear—prevent women from making choices about their own bodies at all costs. But thanks to the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision, they won’t win.
Anti-Woman Members of General Assembly Refuse to Bring Virginia Law In Line With Constitution
We know they won’t win, but The Family Foundation does have members of the General Assembly on their side. Some politicians in Richmond joined the Family Foundation in actively trying to prevent Virginia law from complying with the Supreme Court decision. In fact, Delegate Jennifer Boysko sponsored a bill to remove the TRAP restrictions from Virginia code entirely. Given the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision and the actions of the Virginia Board of Health, it was a fairly standard bill to bring all the codes and laws into agreement with one another. But the chairman of the committee that the bill was assigned to, Delegate Dave Albo, refused to even put the bill on the docket.
Delegate Albo claimed that the bill had no chance of passing and he had more important things he wanted to work on. So he just let a bill to bring Virginia law into accordance with the United States Constitution die in committee—without even a vote—to avoid getting his anti-abortion cronies on the record. Nice.
Keep Fighting for Women in Virginia
Women in our communities deserve to be able to access the healthcare they need when they need it, and the United States Supreme Court agrees with us. But despite the victory we won a year ago and again at the Board of Health, there is still a lot of work to be done on TRAP regulations and other issues so that women are able to plan their families and make the choices that work for them.
Use AbortionRestrictions.org to Stay Informed
With attacks on access to safe and legal abortion coming from all sides, we can’t let our guard down for even a minute. Join the fight for women’s health by visiting abortionrestrictions.org to stay informed on how anti-woman extremists are trying to prevent women from accessing the health care they need. Then take action to prevent them from winning. We have the Supreme Court of the United States on our side, so we know we will win, but that doesn’t mean we can stop fighting. Onward!
[photo credit: Lorie Shaull]