Virginia Healthcare Center Challenges State's TRAP Laws
Falls Church Healthcare Center filed an appeal Monday against the Virginia Board of Health, the Department of Health, and Virginia State Health Commissioner Cynthia Romer over the TRAP regulations that were approved in April requiring clinics performing over five abortions a year to meet new building regulations.
The appeal claims that the Board of Health violated Governor Bob McDonnell's executive order requiring state agencies to take into account how regulations impact small businesses and make alternatives possible. Following the new regulations, which include changes like making additional parking available, replacing existing ceilings, and adding showers to all facilities for staff members, would cost the center over 60,000 dollars according to its Director, Rosemary Codding. Codding claims her Christian faith motivated her to challenge the new requirements so that women could continue to rely on her center for medical care.
The center describes the legislation's requirements as "onerous" and "impossible." They claim the requirements aren't based on medical need or sound medical practice. Their appeal focuses on the advice of medical doctors, which the Board of Health ignored in order to put the approved set of regulations in place.
The Falls Church Healthcare Center is expected to comply with the new regulations because they perform over five first trimester abortions each year. Unlike hospitals, healthcare practices like theirs are not eligible for permanent waivers when such regulations impose hardships on their establishments. Many advocates for abortion providers called Virginia's new regulations a "back door" method for banning abortion, but Codding feels more strongly.
"I don't think it's a back door," she told WUSA9. "I think it's a full front assault on women's health."
Media Resources: WUSA9 6/12/2013; Press Release 6/10/2013; Feminist Newswire 4/12/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .