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Virginia abortion-rights rally attempts to sway health board from adopting ‘TRAP’ clinic regulations

A coalition of reproductive-rights advocates in Virginia will be joined by state leaders in protesting Wednesday new proposed abortion clinic regulations, which the Virginia Board of Health will vote on Thursday.

In March, Virginia Gov. McDonnell signed Senate Bill 924, a health bill requiring the Board of Health to issue regulations related to hospitals related to infection-prevention and disaster-preparedness, which was amended to reclassify abortion clinics that offer five or more first-trimester abortions per month to be regulated just like all hospitals.

The Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health – which was founded earlier in the year by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia in response to SB 924 — refers to laws that require abortion clinics to follow regulations not required by other outpatient medical facilities as ”Targeted Regulations against Abortion Providers” (TRAP).

In a media release, the Virginia Coalition said the draft regulations “threaten the continued availability of safe, legal first-trimester abortion and put politics before sound medicine. Even worse, the governor has imposed an ‘emergency’ regulatory process to create the new rules; a process that will limit time for deliberation and public input.”

Under this law, the coalition predicts health centers that provide services outside of abortion might have to close.

“The regulations are a backdoor attempt to deny women access to a safe, legal medical procedure and threaten the health and safety of Virginia women,” reads the release.

Scheduled to speak at the rally, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., are state Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond), Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), the Honorable Katherine Waddell, abortion providers Rosemary Codding and Shelley Abrams, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice‘s Marjorie Signer, and Virginia National Organization for Women’s Diana Egozcue.

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