NOVA Women's Healthcare, an abortion provider that is repudiated to be the busiest clinic in Virginia, has closed its facility in Fairfax as a result of new city regulations combined with impending new Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP laws). NOVA wasone of the main abortion clinics in the Northern Virginia area, and a main provider of low-cost cancer-screenings, birth control options, and other women's health services.
In an effort to meet new regulations that require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as new hospitals and the struggle against lawsuits from the property owners at its current location, NOVA tried to relocate. However, their nonresidential use permit was denied for a potential new location on the grounds the facility lacked adequate parking. The clinic decided not to petition the city council for a special exception.
In addition, on Tuesday the Fairfax city council voted on Tuesday to change its zoning regulations after learning of the clinic's attempts to relocate. The new city regulations mandate that all abortion clinics be considered "medical care" centers, obtain a special permit from the council after a stringent process. The permit alone would have cost NOVA $4,800.
It is unclear if NOVA will reopen in the future. Another facility, Hillcrest Clinic in Norfolk, closed its doors because of the new state TRAP law in April. Though 18 clinics now remain in Virginia, it is uncertain how they will be able to handle the new regulations. Falls Church Healthcare Center has filed a legal challenge to the law, arguing that the Board of Health violated a governor's order to take into account how the law would impact small businesses.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 7/15/2013; Washington Post 7/15/2013; Feminist Newswire 6/14/2013, 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. . . .