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Virginia Board of Health Votes to Amend Restrictions on Women’s Health Centers
Richmond, VA – This morning, the Virginia Board of Health voted to move forward with amendments to controversial and medically-inappropriate restrictions on Virginia women’s health centers. The highly-anticipated 13–2 vote signified the Board’s official approval of a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action to amend the restrictions, and opens the door for specific amendment language to be drafted and voted upon at a later date.
Hundreds of women’s health activists lined up outside the meeting as early as 6:00am to urge the Board of Health to amend the restrictions, and Board members heard from dozens of medical professionals, legal experts and impacted women who voiced support for regulations based in medicine, not politics. Their voices joined the more than 10,000 comments submitted this summer to the Virginia Department of Health in support of amending the regulations, about 80% of the total number of comments received.
"We are absolutely thrilled with the Board’s vote to move forward with amendments to medically-inappropriate restrictions on women’s health centers,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and co-chair of the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health. "The Board’s decision today is a first, crucial step towards ensuring that these politically-motivated restrictions are revised, and that our safe, trusted women’s health care centers can remain open and accessible for Virginia’s women and families.”
"While we are all committed to ensuring patient health and safety, these regulations do not do that,” Keene continued. "That’s why hundreds of medical experts - including Dr. Karen Remley, the former Virginia Health Commissioner, and the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - oppose these restrictions. We have to ask ourselves, who is most competent to set standards for women’s health care centers -- medical experts who are on the frontlines of patient care every day, or politicians that are determined to cut off access to safe, legal abortion?”
"I am proud of the Board of Health today for listening to the advice of Virginia’s medical professionals and voting to move forward with amendments to these dangerous and medically unnecessary restrictions. This is a truly important first step towards ensuring that safe, trusted women’s health centers can remain open and continue serving their patients with the critical medical care they need.”