We Need To Protect Our Access To Reproductive Health Care In Virginia

If you’ve been plugged into any media outlet over the past several years, then you know access to abortion care is under attack all across the country, and Virginia is no exception. Since 2011, anti-abortion politicians in Virginia have introduced over 170 anti-abortion bills and regulations. These bills were designed to shame and stigmatize people who have abortions and shut down abortion clinics.

And they succeeded. Now 92 percent of Virginia counties have no abortion clinic at all. That means that people who live in rural areas have to travel several hours away from their homes to access abortion.

But because Virginia has a 24 hour waiting period and mandatory ultrasound requirement, not only do those folks have to travel several hours to get the health care they need, but they have to do it two or more times! That means taking off work, finding childcare, getting a hotel room, and figuring out how to get there. These medically-unnecessary requirements all but put abortion out of reach for the most vulnerable among us including low-income people, people of color, people without access to reliable transportation, and many others.

That’s why we’re asking legislators to pass the Reproductive Health Protection Act (RHPA) this session. This bill would get rid of the burdens that anti-abortion politicians put on abortion access in Virginia including the mandatory ultrasound rule and the 24-hour waiting period. It would also get rid of the targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP) that shut down abortion clinics based on things like the number of parking spaces they had. Finally, RHPA  would allow nurse practitioners and other advanced practice clinicians to perform abortions as well. That would allow people, especially those who live in rural communities, to get their abortion from someone they already know and trust.

We cannot let anti-abortion politicians continue chipping away at access to reproductive health care.  continue to shame and stifle us. Regardless of where we live, what we look like, or how much money we make, and our income, we should have the final say on whether, how, and when to start a family. Join the 7 in 10 Virginians that support safe and legal abortion care by emailing to your legislator and telling them to vote for the Reproductive Health Protection Act.