A year ago, Republicans in the Virginia Senate slipped in an amendment to a seemingly harmless bill about nursing home facilities that required that all abortion providers should be regulated like hospitals. To put this a little more clearly: the majority white, male legislature of Virginia ignored scientific evidence and decided to use a legal process to impose their moral(?) standards on the bodies of Virginia's women.
What better way to do this than to wave their magical legislative power
wand and force a procedure twelve times safer than childbirth to be performed
in a ridiculously expensive and elaborate hospital setting?
Openly anti-choice Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli both praised the newly passed regulations and themselves as protecting the women of Virginia!! Over the last year, national women's rights organizations did some lobbying, had a lot of meetings, wrote some letters to the editor, and made a few phone calls. All the while, the women of Virginia were told by the new anti-abortion leadership in Virginia that the new abortion regulations were for their safety. AND THEY BELIEVED IT.
YOU HAVE BEEN MISLED AND LIED TO.
The original draft of abortion regulations proposed to the Board of Health of Virginia was corrupted and manipulated by the office of the Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli.
Documents uncovered from a Freedom of Information Act request show that the Board of Health gathered opinions and advice from a large panel of respected and esteemed obstetrician/gynecologists throughout Virginia. These professionals along with the Health Department proposed regulations that would allow existing clinics in Virginia to be exempt from having to implement very expensive and medically unnecessary architectural changes.
Ken Cuccinelli's office told the Department of Health to remove this exemption.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ABORTION ACCESS IN VIRGINIA?
It is estimated that the structural changes required by the new regulations will cost each clinic anywhere from a quarter of a million dollars to a half million dollars. Some clinics have been safely performing abortions in buildings that are IMPOSSIBLE to retrofit to meet the new requirements. These new requirements masquerade as improvements to protect women's health, but are just financial burdens, fabricated by those who object to abortion.
MANY OF THESE CLINICS WILL CLOSE BECAUSE OF LACK OF FUNDS.
The few surviving clinics, if any, will have big and unnecessary construction bills to pay. This means drastically reduced access to abortion and much higher prices for abortion services. Of course, the daughters of the wealthy will be able to discreetly travel somewhere and have their needs met. What about the women who are struggling to make ends meet?
WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?
The large national pro-choice organizations that have promoted themselves as the defenders of choice and women's rights are well aware of these challenges and have chosen to say and do nothing. It seems they have decided that the people of Virginia do not care to know of, or act in defense of their own reproductive rights.
Without a powerful national machine and with non-profits staying silent, independent clinics have been left in the cold with no big legal firms and PR firms to assist in this slowly deteriorating situation.
When pushed to publicize the outrage that most independent clinics have been feeling, national groups have said they don't want to be seen as "angry feminists."
WELL, WE ARE DONE BEING LADYLIKE. WE ARE ANGRY AND WE ARE GOING TO LET THE WHOLE COUNTRY KNOW IT.
WE HAVE DECIDED TO FIGHT BACK ON OUR OWN, WITH THE PEOPLE OF VIRGINIA. A Capital Women's Health Clinic, Falls Church Healthcare Center, and other independent clinics across the state are working at the grassroots level to bring attention to this situation.
THE BOARD OF HEALTH IS NOW IN THE PROCESS OF WRITING THE PERMANENT REGULATIONS.
There is still time to attempt to influence the writing of the permanent regulations. The Attorney General will undoubtedly be monitoring and manipulating the writing of the permanent regulations, so we must bring NATIONWIDE ATTENTION to this self-righteous ideologue's invasion into the private lives and decisions of Virginia's families.
THERE MUST BE REPERCUSSIONS FOR SUCH BLATANT AND OVERT POLITICIZING OF A SUPPOSEDLY LEGITIMATE REGULATION PROCESS.
Here is our action plan:
1. Tell everyone or anyone you know who cares about reproductive rights about the perversion of the regulatory process going on in Virginia.
2. Write a letter to the Virginia Department of Health. Tell them that abortions have been safely performed for the past 39 years without the imposition of ridiculous and costly architectural changes. Remind them of their obligation of ensuring the medical integrity of the regulations that come out of their office and that they should not allow outside interference from right wing ideologues such as Ken Cuccinelli.
3. Write to your favorite blogger or blogsite and tell them about the attacks that the women of Virginia are currently enduring.
4. Create impromptu picket lines with signs across the state, telling Ken Cuccinelli to back off and stay out of the permanent regulatory process.
We must expand our outreach immediately to radio, billboards, and TV. Please send a donation to support this on the ground movement to protect the rights of Virginia's families. Please make a donation of $25 or more today to stop this madness NOW!