NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia
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Abortion

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and our members believe every woman should have the option to choose safe, legal abortion. Though abortion is legal in the United States according to the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, in reality the right to choose is far from safe.

We work to protect the right of all women in Virginia to access the best standards of care for safe, legal abortion care if they choose. We also believe in supporting the full range of reproductive choices and reducing the need for abortion. This means we support improving access to birth control, teaching young people comprehensive sex education, helping enable women to continue their pregnancies and choose parenting or adoption, and working to reduce disparities in reproductive health care.

Deciding whether and when to become a parent or to have another child is a personal, private decision based on each woman's individual situation. A woman considering whether to have an abortion or continue a pregnancy must be able to make that choice in conversation with her doctor, considering what is best for herself and her family. It is neither the government nor a politician's place to tell a woman when she should carry a pregnancy to term, or to interfere in a the doctor-patient relationship and women's personal medical decisions.

There are powerful anti-choice politicians and groups, however, that want to outlaw abortion and take away a woman's right to choose, regardless of her situation or needs. They would criminalize abortion even in cases such as danger to a woman's life or health or serious fetal abnormalities. When they can't outlaw abortion outright, anti-choice forces stop at nothing to make it as difficult, complicated and expensive as possible for women to access abortion care legally and safely. They come at choice from all angles, targeting women's right and access to abortion, as well as the ability of medical professionals to legally provide care. These anti-choice attacks come at both the federal and state levels.

Please use the resources on this page to learn more about the status of abortion rights in Virginia and in the United States, as well as information about accessing abortion services in the commonwealth.



The Numbers and Facts: Abortion performed legally by a trained health care professional is one of the most common and safest outpatient surgical procedures in America. Statistics show that approximately one in three American women will have had an abortion by the time she reaches age 45. Women who have abortions come from all races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, family situations and socioeconomic groups, and from a wide range of ages. The majority of women who obtain an abortion already have at least one child (61%).

Most abortions (63%) are obtained in the first eight weeks of pregnancy, either by surgical means or by the use of medication. The vast majority (89%) of abortions are performed in the first three months of pregnancy (what's known as the "first trimester"). Only 1% of abortions are performed at 21 weeks or later. These later-term procedures are most often performed because of serious problems with the pregnancy or risks to a woman's life or health.

Fewer than 0.3% of abortion patients experience a serious complication that requires hospitalization, and first-trimester abortion poses virtually no long-term health risks or risks to future reproductive health or fertility. Despite anti-choice rhetoric to the contrary, repeated medical studies have shown no causal link between abortion and mental health problems, or between abortion and increased risk of cancer.



Access to Abortion: Making abortion care more difficult, costly and dangerous for women to obtain is a key tactic in the anti-choice movement's strategy to chip away at a woman's right to choose. Laws at the federal, state, and local levels have a large impact on a woman's ability to access abortion. Today, 87 percent of U.S. counties have no abortion provider, yet anti-choice lawmakers in Virginia and across the country continue to impose a broad range of restrictions on women's access to abortion. Read more about restrictions on abortion access on the NARAL Pro-Choice America website.



State Funding for Abortion in Virginia: In Virginia, public funding (through Medicaid, insurance for state employees and their dependents, and public hospitals) is only available for abortion in cases of rape, incest, incapacitating fetal abnormality and/or to save the life of the woman. Abortions indicated because of severe risks posed to a woman's health by continuing a pregnancy are no longer covered by Medicaid as of April 2010. This restricts the ability of low-income women and others who rely on the government for health insurance to access abortion care. Read more.



Abortion and Reproductive Healthcare Providers in Virginia: Check out the map of abortion providers in Virginia and our 2009 Book of Choices: Resources for Unplanned Pregnancy and Family Planning [PDF]. The "Book of Choices" includes Virginia resources for preventing pregnancy and for choosing abortion, adoption,or parenting.

If you have questions about abortion or finding a provider near you, a good resource to call is the NAF - the National Abortion Federation Hotline at (877) 257-0012.

Abortion Funds in Virginia:
If you or someone you know faces prohibitively costly expenses associated with an abortion,contact one of Virginia's abortion funds. Abortion funds are grassroots organizations that work directly with women who who face financial obstacles to obtaining an abortion. They affirm women's role as decision-makers about their reproductive choices and provide loans or grants to help cover the gap between the cost of an abortion and what a woman can afford to pay.


For additional online resources and information about abortion in the United States, visit:

 
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