Abortion rights supporters tell Governor McDonnell to reject politically motivated regulations on Virginia's women's health centers
The Virginia Coalition to Protect Women's Health rallied with hundreds of supporters in Richmond on Saturday, October 15 to demand that lawmakers stop the war on women's reproductive health and rights. Protesters criticized Virginia's politically-motivated regulations on abortion providers that will drastically reduce Virginia women's access to safe, legal abortion and other reproductive health care.
In February 2011, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law SB 924 requiring first-trimester abortion clinics to be regulated as hospitals. The state already requires abortions after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to be performed in a general hospital. If unchallenged in the courts, these regulations will close most, if not all, abortion facilities in the state.
Keynote speaker Eleanor Smeal, co-founder and President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, told the crowd, "The more we talk about jobs, the more they pass bills to prohibit the access not only to abortion, but to birth control."
Protesters heard from former patients of Virginia women's health centers who testified in support of Virginia's providers, praising them as "gateways to comprehensive reproductive health care" and "essential for access to low-cost, affordable health care for the poor, the unemployed and the uninsured." Representatives from the faith community, including Catholics for Choice, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and Unitarian Universalists for Reproductive Justice, spoke out against the law calling it "misogynist" and "unjust."
Virginia lawmaker Delegate Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) called for an end to the War on Virginia Women, saying, "We're standing here today because Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli have decided to abuse the regulatory system. This is a dangerous piece of regulation."
Medical professionals also spoke to the crowd, including Patricia Crain, a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner who has worked for the last 26 years in an abortion care practice, and operators of women's health centers including Shelley Abrams, manager of Capital Women in Richmond and Rosemary Codding, director of Patient Services at Falls Church Healthcare Center. Codding underlined Governor McDonnell's refusal to work with abortion providers on the new regulations saying, "Governor McDonnell, I had hoped to talk to you about these regulations. But you wouldn't talk to me and you wouldn't talk to any abortion provider about these regulations. You didn't even ask us what would help women and their families."
Youth organizations and health advocacy groups were also represented. Carmen Berkley, field director for Choice USA, a pro-choice organization focusing on youth empowerment and engagement, demonstrated the broad impact of such regulations and connected the situation in Virginia with attacks on women's health across the country.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation 10/17/11
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .