|Action||Regulations for Licensure of Abortion Facilities|
|Comment Period||Ends 3/29/2013|
As someone who was unable to attend the last hearings of the Board on these decisions (oh, I was there - but there was no room for me and hundreds of others who stand against any regulation that hurts women instead of helps them), and as someone who has spent the last decade+ of her life working to protect and promote women's rights, the new TRAP regulations both anger and frighten me.
These regulations threaten the continued availability of safe, legal first-trimester abortion and preventative reproductive health care in multiple locations across the state.
Requirements of clinic buildings that are unrelated to the services health centers provide and have no proven medical benefit will reduce or elimiinate patient access to health care. As individuals charged with protecting the health of Virginians, you should want to INCREASE patient access to health care, not limit it.
The regulations will increase financial hurdles to health care for patients, with no proven medical benefit to patients. As a Virginian who is currently uninsured due to pre-existing conditions, I can firmly say that women need more access to affordable, high quality health care, not less.
If the regulations placed on women's health centers are based upon evidence-based medical practices that advance the public health, then women in the Commonwealth (such as myself) will be able to maintain access to vital health care from trusted medical providers.
On the other hand, medically unappropriate and unnecessarily burdensome regulations would restrict access to essential health care services for the women of VIrginia and further marginalize young, low-income, uninsured, and minority women by decreasing their already meager health care options. Again, the Board of Health should be in the business of INCREASING access to quality health care services for Virginians - especially those of us at the margins - not decreasing it.
Women's health centers already provide a high standard of care, as proven by their impressive safety record. Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures. Overregulations will limit access to a wide range of preventative reproductive health care services provided by women's health clinics, including life-saving cancers screenings (I was impacted by these screenings, and am a cervical cancer survivor because of care provided by women's health clinics), family planning (I was able to continue my education because of the low-cost family planning services provided by women's health clinics), and sexually transmitted infection testing.
It is my hope that the regulations will be amended to be based on medically and scientifically sound best practices, and should not impede women's access to essential health care.