Pointless New Regulations Could Force Most of Virginia's Abortion Clinics to Close


Hey, happy Global Safe Abortion day, ya unoccupied babycaves! Now that you’ve celebrated, here’s some news to take the spring out of your step and put your head back firmly, and repeatedly on your desk: thanks to some good old fashioned coercion from Virginia’s Attorney General, the state has just enacted asinine new regulations on abortion clinics that could force many existing facilities to shut their doors.

Virginia’s TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) Law aims to force the state’s abortion providers to comply with building standards normally applied to hospital facilities. Proponents of these laws claim that what’s at stake is women’s safety, but the aim of a TRAP law is always the same: interfering with women’s access to abortion. Anti-abortion lawmakers, curiously, only seem to care about WOMEN’S SAFETY when it doesn’t have anything to do with keeping women safe from health threatening pollution, or with making sure women have economic security by mandating paid maternity leave or equal pay. They only— CURIOUSLY — seem to care about keeping a man’s right to control a woman’s body safe. Patriarchy safety, if you wanna get all Intro to Women’s Studies about it. But I digress.

Originally, the state Board of Health voted to allow existing abortion providers to be “grandfathered” into the program, which means they’d be exempt from having to make their hallways wider and their ceilings higher and a laundry list of other things that other facilities that perform procedures that are statistically more dangerous than abortion — dental surgery and colonoscopies, which can lead to deadly hypoxia and intestinal explosions, respectively, are not subject to the same strict “safety first” rules that the TRAP law imposes. But after the Board voted to show some damn sense, Ken Cuccinelli II, the state’s rabidly anti-abortion Attorney General, wrote a letter to board members informing them that if they allow clinics to be grandfathered into the TRAP law, they each could be held personally liable for any legal fees if clinics were sued.

Two days later, the board reversed their ruling. And yesterday, Cuccinelli certified the board’s more palatable-to-him decision, stating that even though the regulations are an absurd abuse of power in the name of pursuing a fact-free ideology, the law should go into effect.

Yes, Virginia. This is bullshit.


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