Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Karen Remley resigned from her position on Thursday, citing targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws approved in late September as the primary reason for her resignation.
These TRAP laws were designed to force existing abortion clinics to meet the same building codes as new hospitals. The Virginia Board of Health met on September 14th and voted 13-2 to reverse their June decision to grandfather in existing clinics, thus exempting them from new, hospital-like restrictions. Instead, the board is requiring existing clinics to come into compliance with regulations within two years or face closure. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli refused to accept the June grandfather provision and asserted the board did not have the authority to amend the regulations. Cuccinelli also released a memo on September 12th threatening Board of Health members by stating that they would not be able to receive state legal counsel if they disregarded his recommendations.
In her resignation letter, Remley wrote: "Unfortunately, how specific sections of the Virginia Code pertaining to the development and enforcement of these regulations have been and continue to be interpreted has created an environment in which my ability to fulfill my duties is compromised and in good faith I can no longer serve in my role."
Remley was appointed by former Governor and current Senate candidate Tim Kaine (D) and remained in her position under Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). During a debate last night Kaine spoke about Remley's recently announced resignation, stating, "It's unfortunate that a political focus on limiting women's access to health care has prompted her resignation after many years of diligent and faithful service to the Commonwealth, but I know Karen has many years of service still ahead of her."
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 9/27/12; Washington Post 10/18/12; Think Progress 10/18/12
5/1/2015 House Reverses DC Law Banning Reproductive Health Discrimination by Employers - The US House of Representatives voted Thursday night to overturn a Washington, DC, law that makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who use their insurance to cover procedures like in-vitro fertilization or abortion and contraception like birth control pills and IUDs for themselves, their spouses, or their children.
The District's council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act last year. . . .
4/30/2015 400 Women and Children Have Been Rescued From Boko Haram in Nigeria - In two different operations in under a week, Nigerian troops have rescued more than 400 women and children who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram.
On Tuesday, Nigerian troops announced they rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram - and today news has come out that troops rescued another 160 women and children.
While the news is promising and shows progress made in Nigeria to combat Boko Haram, the girls rescued were not the Chibok girls who inspired the #BringBackOurGirls movement last year. . . .
4/29/2015 Hillary Clinton Calls for Criminal Justice Reform and an End to Mass Incarceration - Hillary Clinton delivered the keynote address at the 18th Annual Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum today, addressing directly criminal justice reforms she would like to see to prevent another "incarceration generation."
"It's time the end the era of mass incarceration," Clinton declared to much applause, citing statistics about the disproportionately higher rate of incarceration that black men in America face. . . .