Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Virginia Department of Health
State Board of Health
Regulations for Licensure of Abortion Facilities [REPEALED] [12 VAC 5 ‑ 412]
Action Regulations for Licensure of Abortion Facilities
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 3/29/2013
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3/29/13  11:14 am
Commenter: Michael Mitchell, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

An Open Letter from People of Faith Who Believe in Reproductive Healthcare and Religious Liberty


To Whom It May Concern: Please accept these comments, signed by 108 Virginians, in the form of an open letter. Names and Virginia Zip codes appear below the text.  


An Open Letter from People of Faith in Virginia Who Believe in Reproductive Healthcare and Religious Liberty


We are religious people from across the Commonwealth of Virginia. We come together from many different faith traditions, united by our belief that every woman deserves the resources she needs to make her own decisions about a pregnancy, in consultation with her family, her doctor, and her faith. We believe that our state laws should protect access to all forms of reproductive healthcare, including abortion. It is wrong to adopt unnecessary and judgmental policies that place cumbersome restrictions on Virginia women  and health care providers.

We are strongly opposed to the proposed new licensing requirements for abortion providers, which have no medical or scientific relationship whatsoever to the health and safety of clinic patients. The sole purpose of these regulations is to burden clinic facilities and doctors, forcing them to raise the costs of their services or go out of business entirely. Provisions like this—and the forced ultrasound law enacted last year—always  have a disproportionate impact on a woman struggling to make ends meet, because she has  less ability—such as being able to take time off work—to cope with the burden of increased cost, number of appointments required, or distance traveled. As people of faith who believe in compassion and fairness, we consider these measures to be both immoral and unjust.   

Further, these restrictions favor and codify one particular set of religious beliefs on issues of life, abortion, and pregnancy.  This dangerous precedent imposes one religious view on everyone in the Commonwealth, thereby denying individuals and families the right to make very personal healthcare decisions according to their own beliefs and values. This interference is in direct conflict with article XVI of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which holds that “all [people] are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience.”

Again, as religious people from across the Commonwealth of Virginia, we implore you to reject these new licensing requirements.  The state should be working to expand access to healthcare and protect religious liberty—not take them away. 




Lynn Alsmeyer-Johnson, Virginia Zip Code 22308

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: I'm old enough to remember when abortion was illegal in most of the states. Getting pregnant by accident was a scary proposition when I was in college. I witnessed the difference between a freshman from a wealthy family who was able to travel to Puerto Rico for the weekend to have a safe, legal abortion in 1966, versus others who were terrified when they missed a period. Would they have to drop out of school and derail their future plans? Or seek an illegal procedure to avoid the shame and the need to tell their parents? Women deserve better than this. I also lived in California after graduation in 1968, where a friend got pregnant by her boyfriend and they were unwilling to get married to raise the child. She chose to have a safe, legal abortion under Medicaid. She was able to come back to work after a weekend of treatment and recovery. We need to protect the right to, and the accessibility of, healthcare related to pregnancy. This includes birth control and family planning, pre-natal and post-natal care, and access to a safe, legal abortion when a woman deems it necessary for her health and well-being. This should be her decision, in consultation with her partner, her clergy person, and her doctor. As a lifelong Unitarian, I was taught the importance of thinking and making decisions responsibly. I was also taught that men and women are equal as human beings, and that we determine Please allow us to exercise our right to these services, and to lead our lives as our conscience and our faith inform us.


William Alsmeyer-Johnson, Virginia Zip Code 22308


Elizabeth Anderson, Virginia Zip Code 20120

Judith Bailey, Virginia Zip Code 23238

Susan Bennett, Virginia Zip Code 22033

Gloria Berg, Virginia Zip Code 22041

Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, Virginia Zip Code 22003

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: As a clergy person, a person of faith, and a woman, I believe that all women should have absolute freedom of choice, and that God is the only One who should judge women's reproductive choices. Please do not restrict women's choices any further.

Amy Biggs, Virginia Zip Code 23455

Courtney Birkett, Virginia Zip Code 53185

Lee Bory, Virginia Zip Code 22204

Ronald Brandt, Virginia Zip Code 22308

Darryl Branting, Virginia Zip Code 20170

Rev. Jeff Briere, Virginia Zip Code 23228

Rev. Paul Brittner, Virginia Zip Code 22655

Claire Brown, Virginia Zip Code 22003

Rhonda Buckner, Virginia Zip Code 22204

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Any limitation on access to safe and accessible abortions put women's lives at risk. Families are also negatively affected. This is a violation of a Woman's right to choose!

Wendy Burns, Virginia Zip Code 22308

Kathleen Campbell, Virginia Zip Code 23235

Gail Christie, Virginia Zip Code 23112

Kasia Clarke, Virginia Zip Code 23226

Maggie Clayton, Virginia Zip Code 22202

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Do not force women's health centers to close their doors over unnecessary regulations. These centers offer vital healthcare options to many women in Virginia and must stay open.

Thomas Wade, Virginia Zip Code 22963

Rev. Elisheva Clegg, Virginia Zip Code 22963

William Clontz, Virginia Zip Code 22308

Jeffrey Cole, Virginia Zip Code 22901

Joan V. Cole, Virginia Zip Code 22901

Stacy Collins, Virginia Zip Code 22205

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Please do not institute these medically unecessary restrictions! Please listen to the voices of the medical community, not religious extremists!

Susan Craig, Virginia Zip Code 22201

Gary Creditor, Virginia Zip Code 23221

Virginia Cronin, Virginia Zip Code 22046

Kim Cullen Cobb, Virginia Zip Code 22301

Jacomina De Regt, Virginia Zip Code 22203

Janice Dean, Virginia Zip Code 22902

Carol Dietrich, Virginia Zip Code 20187

Mary Dudley, Virginia Zip Code 23234

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Women should make the important reproductive choices for themselves.

Martha Duggan, Virginia Zip Code 22201

Cissy Elkins, Virginia Zip Code 23704

Elise Emanuel, Virginia Zip Code 23186

Elizabeth Fanning, Virginia Zip Code 22932

Elizabeth Fogarty, Virginia Zip Code 22207

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: As a person of faith, I encourage the Board of Health to recognize the worth and dignity of every woman, and to respect the right of every woman to make her own spiritual and medical decisions.

Margaret Fogarty, Virginia Zip Code 22207

Claire Fogarty, Virginia Zip Code 22207

Jerrold Foltz, Virginia Zip Code 20120

Peter Fontneau, Virginia Zip Code 22153

Rosalind Gold, Virginia Zip Code 20191

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Do not restrict my right to safe, legal reproductive health care. Allow me to follow the dictates of my religious tradition by opposing restrictive licensing requirements for abortion care providers.

Robin Gorsline, Virginia Zip Code 23235

Kristi Grant, Virginia Zip Code 92630

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: I pray and hope you'll listen.

Arlene Harrell, Virginia Zip Code 23238

Winifred Hart, Virginia Zip Code 24450

Stan Hastey, Virginia Zip Code 22304

Ruth Heimburg, Virginia Zip Code 22307

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: I respectfully request that Virginia legislators stay out of my bedroom and out of my doctor's office.

Jean Hornberg, Virginia Zip Code 22812

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: No one, especially one who is gender-different from women, has any right to enact legal decisions about a woman's body. That is between the woman and God. Incest and rape are crimes against women and should not be endorsed by any legal or non-legal entity.

Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig, Virginia Zip Code 22124

Carolyn C. Hughes, Virginia Zip Code 23607

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Making abortion illegal or inaccessible does not stop it. Woman and girls will die or face infertility. No one should stand in judgment of a woman who makes this decition.

Sara Hutchinson, Virginia Zip Code 22305

Bernard Hyde Jr., Virginia Zip Code 22205

Donna Jeanne, Virginia Zip Code 22312

Ben Jesup, Virginia Zip Code 22307

Barbara Johnson, Virginia Zip Code 22205

Margaret Keator, Virginia Zip Code 23606

Patricia Kenny-Priest, Virginia Zip Code 22308

Carmela Knepler, Virginia Zip Code 22032

Rebecca Krasnegor, Virginia Zip Code 20191

Mary Kringer, Virginia Zip Code 22015

Laurie LaGoe, Virginia Zip Code 22309

Phyllis Liner, Virginia Zip Code 22003

Sarah L. Ludwig, Virginia Zip Code 24014

Catherine Ludwig, Virginia Zip Code 22192

Jane Lux, Virginia Zip Code 22150

Bobbie Marcoux, Virginia Zip Code 22151

Claride Mayo, Virginia Zip Code 22306

Joan McDermott, Virginia Zip Code 22207

Rev. Betty Jo Middleton, Virginia Zip Code 22314

Amy Modlin, Virginia Zip Code 24060

Cass Morris, Virginia Zip Code 24401

Virginia Moser, Virginia Zip Code 22152

Sarah Munson, Virginia Zip Code 22203

Barbara Nash, Virginia Zip Code 22207

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: These restrictions regulate health care down to the size of the janitor's closet. This shows me this is a political set of regulations, not a set of health regulations. These regulations need to be denied.

Nancy Norton, Virginia Zip Code 24060

McGrady Patricia, Virginia Zip Code 22201

Ellen Peters, Virginia Zip Code 22124

Donna Phillips, Virginia Zip Code 22602

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Expanding healthcare instead of restricting it should be our goal.

Peter Pocock, Virginia Zip Code 22301

Georgeta Pourchot, Virginia Zip Code 22306

Jeanne Pupke, Virginia Zip Code 23221

Albert Robbert, Virginia Zip Code 22202

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: There is a word for religious beliefs that are imposed as law. It's called sharia.

Ben Romer, Virginia Zip Code 23114

Miriam Rowe, Virginia Zip Code 22309

Leslie Rubio, Virginia Zip Code 23220

Charles Ruby, Virginia Zip Code 22309

Scott Sammler-Michael, Virginia Zip Code 22030

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: I find it disappointing that members of the Virginia legislature continue to introduce legislation composed and funded by right-wing enemies of religious liberty. Keep your narrow-minded misunderstanding of faith out of the law that governs all.

Susan Selaya, Virginia Zip Code 23219

Mimi Stevens, Virginia Zip Code 22310

Russell Stumpe, Virginia Zip Code 22308

Edward H. Takken, PhD, Virginia Zip Code 22306

Nancy Theodore, Virginia Zip Code 22204

Nina Tisara, Virginia Zip Code 22310

Elizabeth Vanderwoude, Virginia Zip Code 20110

Lou Ventura, Virginia Zip Code 23437

Bruce Vernor, Virginia Zip Code 20147

Rev. Kate Walker, Virginia Zip Code 22305

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: My congregation and the Unitarian Universalist Association have a long history of supporting the personal rights of women and their reproductive health. These restrictions are nothing more than political slight of hand.

Carol Waters, Virginia Zip Code 23701

Kathie Watson, Virginia Zip Code 22310

Alice Whealin, Virginia Zip Code 22201

Heidi Whitese, Virginia Zip Code 20155

Marjorie Witting, Virginia Zip Code 22307

Phyllis Woodring, Virginia Zip Code 22042

Kay Youngflesh, Virginia Zip Code 22314


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