Virginia has some pretty restrictive laws policing what you can and cannot do with your body. In fact, the (mostly) conservative old white dudes who were in control of the legislature proposed more than 80 restrictions to abortion access since 2010. They even passed laws requiring women who have decided to have an abortion to undergo an invasive ultrasound, read biased and inaccurate information about abortion, and wait 24 hours between seeing a doctor for the first time and having the abortion itself.
They’ve also tried to make getting an abortion even more difficult by passing sham restrictions on abortion providers, including medically unnecessary requirements like having a certain number of parking spaces and water fountains. These nonsense restrictions did nothing to protect the health and safety of women and were—instead— specifically designed to shut down women’s health clinics. And, unfortunately, they worked. There are now only nine localities in Virginia where a woman can actually get an abortion.
But Virginia Women Are Taking Back Power
Though the sham restrictions on abortion providers did cause a few women’s health clinics to shut down, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that those sham restrictions are unconstitutional. Thanks to that decision, we were able to go to the Board of Health and fight to repeal the sham restrictions. And we won!
This paves the way for new clinics to open. However, although the unconstitutional restrictions are no longer being enforced, the code of Virginia still has them on the books. That means that we need to bring the code into compliance with the constitution so that women are guaranteed the ability to make decisions about their bodies and access abortion when they need it. And, just as important, we need to make it illegal to enforce new regulations on abortion that don’t have a legitimate medical benefit. Fortunately, progressive lawmakers are proposing the Whole Woman’s Health Act to do just that.
Pass the Whole Woman’s Health Act To Protect Your Lady Parts!
Advocates and legislators tried to pass the Whole Woman’s Health Act last year. But the conservatives in charge refused to even hear the bill, much less vote on it.
But Virginia voters showed that we won’t stand for that kind of nonsense when we elected a wave of progressive candidates who campaigned on the right to abortion in November. Thus, the makeup of the House of Delegates is very different now, and we have another chance to pass this bill to protect our right to control our own bodies.