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Results tagged “TRAP law” from Blog for Choice

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took the world by storm, and pro-choice champions are raising the profile of their issue with the Taco and/or Beer Challenge!

It's a lot easier than dumping a bucket of ice water on your head. Just eat a taco and/or drink a beer, and then donate to any abortion fund.

Anti-choice politicians have made it harder and harder for women to access abortion care, and nobody has felt the impact more than low-income women. Many of their health-care programs don't include abortion coverage. And anti-choice laws that close clinics or require multiple visits mean that many women have to travel for hours and take days off work to have an abortion. All of this can have a big economic impact. Abortion funds help close the gap so women can afford the care they need.

A ton of pro-choice activists - including members of the NARAL Pro-Choice America family - have already taken part in the #TacoOrBeerChallenge. Check out some of our faves below then grab a taco and join in!

Tax Dollars Wasted on "Discredited Expert"

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You've gotta be kidding me!

According to Mother Jones, anti-choice Republicans are falling all over themselves to defend their extreme abortion-blocking laws. That's what happens when you get sued for making it impossible for some women to access legal health care. And they're using your tax dollars to defend these terrible laws.

But what really boggles the mind is that Alabama, North Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin have hired a "discredited expert" to push their agenda to the tune of $192,505.50.

What is wrong with these anti-choice politicians? If they hate abortion so much, how about using these funds to support women's health programs that would help prevent unintended pregnancy?

Here's a better way to spend $192,000:

Cover a year of birth control for 1,200 women.

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Enroll 2,560 teens in a local comprehensive sex education program.

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Hand out 505,263 condoms.

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Screen 6,193 women for cervical cancer.

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But hey, when you're an anti-choice politician, what's hundreds of thousands of dollars to a quack to make sure women in your state don't have reproductive freedom and access to basic health care? At least they're making their priorities crystal clear.

When Women Have No Choice

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VotesforWomen_small.jpgToday is Women's Equality Day and the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing a woman's right to vote.

While our country has made incredible strides to protect and expand women's rights, the celebration of women's equality feels bittersweet when 43 anti-choice measures that undermine a woman's right to decide when to start a family have already been enacted in 2013.

Whether it's mandating waiting periods before a woman can access abortion care, imposing unnecessary regulations on abortion providers in order to close their doors forever or supporting anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) that lie to women about their reproductive health and options, these laws endanger women's health and safety by making it impossible for many women to get safe and honest health care. More than 50 abortion providers have been forced to close in the last three years.

If you've ever wondered what it would mean to have no access to abortion services, you only have to look abroad. The numbers show again and again: when abortion is illegal women die, and the number of abortion procedures doesn't decrease.

Take, for example, Kenya, where abortion is completely banned. A new report shows that more than 2,500 women die each year from illegal abortion, and thousands more face severe complications from unsafe abortion procedures. This is a frightening glimpse of what the U.S. could look like if extreme anti-choice laws continue to limit women's access to reproductive-health care.

Meanwhile, Ireland only recently expanded its laws after a young woman died from being denied safe abortion care. Her death sparked such an outrage that the Irish government was persuaded to grant access to abortion when a woman's life is threatened. The very first legal abortion was performed in Ireland this month, and it saved a woman's life.

That's why, on Women's Equality Day - and every day - we work to protect and expand a woman's right to choose by supporting pro-choice candidates and holding anti-choice groups accountable for endangering women's health and safety.

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5 Reasons Ken Cuccinelli is Dangerous for Women

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In November, every pro-choice person in the country is going to wish they lived in Virginia just so they'd get the chance to vote against Ken Cuccinelli for governor. Don't get me wrong,  they'd be happy to vote for Terry McAuliffe because he's a committed pro-choice supporter who will fight all the attacks coming out of Richmond. But Cuccinelli's devotion to "crisis pregnancy centers"(CPCs) that lie to women and his disturbing record as an anti-choice crusader makes him one of the worst politicians we've seen.

It's kind of a challenge even to narrow down the worst things he's done... but since we know it's hard for most people to keep track of all 228,431,970 anti-choice attacks he's launched, here are our top five:

  1. This is a no-brainer: Ken Cuccinelli wants to ban all abortion. Period. Even for women who have been raped. He opposes abortion so much he said he wants "to make abortion disappear in America." Really? Where's it going to go?
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  3. But Ken Cuccinelli really outdid a lot of other anti-choice politicians when he compared abortion to slavery.
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  5. Cuccinelli showed his true stripes when he threatened members of the Virginia Board of Health and threw a temper tantrum because he needed their compliance to shut down the majority of abortion providers in Virginia.
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  7. But when the Board of Health agreed to the restrictions he wanted, he was like:
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  9. Come on, Ken, the only thing more dangerous than closing clinics that provide actual health care to women is supporting fake clinics that lie to and shame women instead. Naturally, that's one more thing Ken Cuccinelli thinks is awesome.

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Bad news for Ken: abortion and reproductive rights will be key issues for voters in the upcoming election. That means that every time a pro-choice voter finds out what Ken Cuccinelli has done to take away women's rights, they're more than ready to say:

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Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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North Carolina Gov. McCrory's Big, Fat Broken Promise

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You may not have even known the name of North Carolina's governor until recently, but ever since Gov. Pat "Liar Pants on Fire" McCrory cheated women out of their right to choose in North Carolina, his handle is all over Twitter.

How did Gov. McCrory go from that guy we never heard of to the most despised governor in the country? One big, fat broken promise.

Here's how it went down.

1. Promise women voters that you will not be one of those guys behind the War on Women.

2. Get elected.

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3. Sneak an extreme attack on access to abortion in a bill on... motorcycle safety.

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4. Sign the bill.

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(No photos are available because he did it behind closed doors.)

5. Offer a plate of cookies to all those ladies who've been protesting outside your mansion.

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6. Watch as women's health centers close because of your broken promise.

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We all remember last month when thousands of pro-choice activists flooded the Texas capitol in solidarity with Sen. Wendy Davis to stop an extreme anti-choice bill that would close almost 90 percent of abortion clinics across the state.

I've been to my fair share of rallies, and as an added bonus of standing up for reproductive freedom I've seen some innovative, creative, and sometimes comedic signs.

But when Tuesday Cain's hand-made sign went viral, anti-choice activists went after her, calling the 14-year old "ugly," a "degenerate," and "whore."

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Fortunately, the story does not end there. Tuesday stood up to anti-choice bullies and spoke out:

"I don't think [supporting a woman's right to choose] makes me -- or any other 14-year-old girl who agrees with me -- a whore. It simply makes us people. People who believe that abortion should be safe, legal and accessible for women. People who believe women should be in control of their bodies and should not ever have to put their lives at risk so that we don't go backwards in women's rights in this country.

Normally, I prefer to look up to adults as role models. But what is happening in Texas right now it's hard to find adults who I want to look up to. I'm not going to let someone calling me a whore stop me from fighting for what is right for all women. I'm not going to let the bullies win in the fight over women's bodies."

We couldn't agree more.

While it's disgusting to see anti-choice bullies shame young women for supporting women's reproductive freedom, at least the battle for women's health in Texas has cast a spotlight on what anti-choice politicians and their allies are really trying to achieve: taking away a woman's ability to decide whether and when to start a family.

In their efforts to ban abortion, anti-choice politicians in the Texas legislature recently passed an extreme bill that could close nearly 90 percent of abortion clinics across the state.

Once the bill goes into effect, the drastic reduction in clinics will eliminate family-planning services, reproductive-health care, and cancer screenings for many low-income families who may have no other options to access care. The bill will also have devastating consequences for women's access to abortion services.

Now, medical experts fear that women in Texas may desperately turn to unsafe options, including attempting abortion care themselves. Some may even cross into Mexico to obtain medication abortion, which could be very dangerous if taken without consultation from a doctor.

But some anti-choice public figures couldn't care less about women's safety. After the vote in Texas, Erick Erickson of Fox News tweeted that "liberals" should "bookmark" the website of a coat hanger production company!

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It's disgusting that Erickson would make light of the real and tragic danger of unsafe abortion procedures.

Sorry, Erick, this is no joke.

Unsafe abortion care cost many young women their lives before Roe v. Wade, and women still die from unsafe abortion services all over the world.

We know that extreme anti-choice restrictions - like the ones in Texas - do not reduce the need for abortion, they only make it more dangerous. That's why it is so important for women to have safe, legal access to abortion without government intrusion, and to make clinics as safe as possible - not close them down.

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We were deeply disappointed to hear that, despite thousands of pro-choice Texans rallying at the Capitol in opposition to extreme anti-choice legislation, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill that would close down all but five abortion clinics across the state and ban abortion care after 20 weeks - even in the most heartbreaking of circumstances.

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We've seen the anti-choice in politicians Texas stoop to a new low by resorting to cheating tactics and changing the rules to force this dangerous legislation into law. Texas grabbed the nation's attention during Sen. Wendy Davis' 13-hour filibuster and we'd like to share a first-hand account of that experience, from Heather McLeod of Austin, Texas, who stood in the Capitol that night:

"The gallery was full, as was the auditorium where the proceedings were being streamed. Hallways and elevators and stairwells buzzed with activity.

Suddenly an urgent "Shhhhhhhh!" passed from person to person in the group closest to the television. The roar of the bustling room dropped to a hush. This had been the third point of order and the sound was back on. I could feel our collective hearts drop. Sustained. They had killed the filibuster, grasping at absurd straws in an effort to silence Wendy Davis and all of us. I was aware here of the beginning of a certain level of unity--focused, bold, determined--that would come to define the rest of the night. As far as we knew, the filibuster had been broken, which meant the bill would pass, and our reproductive freedom was about to be ripped out from under us.

Crowding onto the terrazzo of the rotunda, surrounded by stately portraits and the soft white glow of the building's interior, our voices began to rise. Louder and louder we grew, until we were chanting as one: "Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!" The force of passion in the building could have lifted the roof off, not to mention the sheer volume of sound. It grew into one neverending cry of outrage in between chants, until a group of state representatives appeared on the west side of the second floor balcony. I recognized Dawnna Dukes, Senfronia Thomas, and Borris Miles. They were telling us that it wasn't over. The senators were appealing the ruling. They were pleading with us to wait quietly. They motioned dramatically with their hands: "Wait here. We'll be back." It was around this time that we learned that all entrances to the Capitol had been locked due to the crowd's unrest, and no one was allowed in or out. We sat down on the floor of the rotunda. The temperature in the room had started to rise. Food and water were brought in and passed around. We waited, texted, checked social media.

As 11:00 approached, the mood in the room grew tense. We weren't sure what was happening in the gallery. We began counting down. People inside began getting to their feet again until we were all standing.

At 11:42 we began to hear cheering from upstairs and someone appeared at the railing of the highest balcony yelling hoarsely at us to start making noise. Around this same time came the news of Senator Van de Putte's powerful question. Our supporters in the gallery had disrupted the session by standing and cheering and they were refusing to stop.

If we could hear the couple hundred of them shouting, they would certainly be able to hear one or two thousand people in the center of the building. Like a match had been lit, the rotunda exploded in an uprising of sound that swelled above us to a chill-inducing, ear-splitting pitch. "WEN-DY! WEN-DY! WEN-DY!" "WHOSE HOUSE IS IT? OUR HOUSE! WE WON'T GO BACK!" "OUR BODY! OUR CHOICE!" We screamed and clapped and cheered as if our lives depended on it. Our freedom certainly did. The sound seemed to hang in the air above us and feed back, ringing out the power of hundreds and hundreds of voices screaming for equality.

Midnight came and went. Dozens of troopers entered the gallery and began physically removing people while confusion set in downstairs. It appeared a vote had happened, albeit illegally, and that nothing would be settled by night's end. A sizable crowd was gathered outside the Capitol when we left. We witnessed some dramatic arrests being made.

I got home shortly after 2:00 a.m. and learned then that, amazingly, the bill was dead. Dewhurst had ultimately been forced to concede to the objectivity of the clock. Here in Texas we are used to losing these battles, so the next morning dawned with a kind of hope and pride we haven't felt in a long time. But within 24 hours, Rick Perry called another special session. But something has changed in a huge number of us: we are tired, really tired, of being devalued, threatened, and ignored. We will not stand by while our most personal rights are stripped away.

We have woken up."

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, discussed new anti-choice legislative attacks across the country and politicians' cheating tactics on "Hardball with Chris Matthews."

"[Anti-choice politicians'] goal has remained the same: to outlaw abortion as well as women's other reproductive choices...What's more interesting is how they're resorting to do it. These politicians in Texas and North Carolina, and I'm from Texas as well, know that they don't have popular support on their side, and so they're resorting to cheating, changing the rules, doing these things under the dark of night.

I think women have had enough. That's what we're seeing in Texas and in North Carolina. We're getting calls from national members everywhere asking "what can we do?" This is it, this is enough. We will support Texas, we will support North Carolina, and we will get these folks out of office that are driving these extreme policies that are bad for women, and bad for our families."

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Pro-Choice Texans Call Out Cheaters

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cheater_small.jpgThe Texas Legislature is still in the spotlight after Sen. Wendy Davis' epic stand led the way to a "People's Filibuster," where hundreds of pro-choice Texans rallied at the capitol and ensured that an extreme anti-choice bill did not pass.

But instead of respecting democracy, Gov. Rick Perry and his anti-choice allies in the Texas legislature have resorted to manipulating the rules, cutting off debate, and ignoring the clock so that they could pass extreme anti-choice legislation.

We asked pro-choice Texans across the state to voice their own opinions about Gov. Perry's cheating tactics by writing a Letter to the Editor of their local paper. The Letters to the Editor are the most frequented section of the paper, and we've already seen a few printed!

Here's one Letter to the Editor featured in the Weatherford Democrat:

As children, we're taught that cheating is against the rules, plain and simple. As adults, many of us work to instill this value in children. We want them to play fair, and follow the rules even if it doesn't go their way. As the old adage goes, "Cheaters never win." Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and their allies in the legislature must have missed this lesson. And Texas women could pay the price. Perry and Dewhurst have resorted to cheating and deception to push their abortion bill that will hurt the health of many women across the state.

We demand that Gov. Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst stop changing the rules. Cheating is no way to make laws for Texas. If the governor and his allies can't pass a law fairly under the rules, we can't let them cheat their way to victory. Here in Texas, cheaters never win.

Sincerely,
Janell Jenkins, Garland, Texas

Anti-choice politicians in Texas and across the country must be held accountable for their unacceptable behavior that could cheat women out of their rights. Would you consider writing to your local paper?

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Something truly extraordinary happened this week that electrified our community. Pro-choice Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) took an epic stand for women's reproductive freedom and refused to be bullied or silenced by anti-choice politicians in the legislature.

Sen. Davis chose to filibuster a bill, S.B. 5, which would have banned abortion care after 20 weeks and shut down all but five abortion clinics across the state of Texas. She was not allowed to sit, drink, eat, or even lean on the podium at any time for the 13 hours she needed to run out the clock and prevent a vote before the special session ended.

wendy-sneakers.jpg Sen. Wendy Davis Stands for 13-hour Filibuster

Sen. Davis withstood numerous attempts by her anti-choice colleagues to silence her. Proponents of the bill also attempted to silence the voices of the hundreds of pro-choice supporters who filled the Texas Capitol. In the end, the bill was officially defeated when the session ended at midnight without a vote.

I tuned into the live-stream late Tuesday night, and was both mesmerized and horrified at how far anti-choice politicians would go to ram through such a dangerous measure for women's health. State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte (D) drove the point home when she said:

"At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?"

Sen. Van de Putte's question was like a match to a fuse. Pro-choice supporters in the Capitol immediately began to cheer with support. The cheer became a roar. And they didn't stop cheering until time ran out and the session ended without a vote on S.B. 5.

The defeat of S.B. 5 was a resounding victory for pro-choice women and men across the nation. Sen. Davis' efforts were nothing short of incredible, and her stand reminds us that elected officials can do more than just vote to fight back against the most extreme anti-choice politicians. Sign our Thank You note to Sen. Wendy Davis for not backing down to anti-choice bullies.

Showing just how far anti-choice politicians are willing to go, Gov. Rick Perry (R) has already called for a second special session to advance this bill again. He also showed his true colors and took it to a personal level by stating that Sen. Davis should "[learn] from her own example":

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Sen. Wendy Davis and pro-choice supporters across the country are ready to fight back against his extreme agenda.

Who's with us?

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Texas Lawmakers' Vote Will Close Most Abortion Clinics

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Texas_small.jpgIn Texas, anti-choice politicians are trying with all their might to pass new restrictions that will shut down reproductive-health clinics across the state.

NARAL Pro-Choice Texas has been in the Capitol fighting back with hundreds of pro-choice activists from across the state. Yesterday, they were on the House floor with hundreds of activists in a "People's Filibuster" to show how dangerous this legislation would be for women's health and safety.

So far, over 700 people from all over the state have signed up to testify against the bill. Hundreds of these citizens' testimony was casually disregarded as "repetitive" by Rep. Byron Cook in an effort to rush a vote in his House committee. Despite this, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas' monumental effort to restore transparency to the democratic process has temporarily blocked the House from voting on the anti-choice package.

Anti-choice Gov. Rick Perry (R), who made headlines by proudly slashing critical family-planning funding in 2011, personally made sure these anti-choice restrictions were part of the agenda for a special session after legislators failed to pass them during the regular session.

If these restrictions become law, all but five abortion providers in the entire state will likely be forced to close. Low-income women and their families, already struggling to access quality care, will be forced to travel huge distances or not receive care at all.

Don't expect anti-choice politicians to stop at these restrictions - they are also scheming to ban abortion after 20 weeks.

Ilyse Hogue Debates Anti-Choicer on "PBS NewsHour"

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Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, debated Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, on "PBS NewsHour." They talked about anti-choice legislative attacks in the states and the trial of Kermit Gosnell. Here are a few of Ilyse's points - be sure to watch the whole interview:

"We are already seeing a number of court cases, including ones that Americans United for Life, I think, support, that go far beyond Roe, far beyond women's ability to decide about abortion with their doctors.

[Anti-choice groups] are supporting rollbacks of contraception. They actually have model legislation on their website that would limit IVF, as we have seen in the "personhood" amendment. This is a radical agenda and this is the antithesis of common sense. Americans believe that women and their families and their doctors can make these personal decisions, not meddling politicians."

clinic_small.jpgFor now, Arkansas holds the title as the state with the earliest abortion ban. But that could change very soon.

North Dakota is poised to adopt an extreme law which would ban abortion even earlier - at six weeks!

The North Dakota state legislature has mounted numerous anti-choice attacks on women's reproductive freedoms before, but this so called "heartbeat" ban is the worst.

This legislation would ban abortion before most women even know they're pregnant, with no exceptions for rape or incest. It would effectively make abortion illegal in the state of North Dakota.

Lawmakers in North Dakota passed this anti-choice bill along with divisive legislation that criminalizes doctors for the reasons women seek abortion care. Both bills are on their way to Gov. Jack Dalrymple's (R) desk.

But that's not the end of the story.

Anti-choice politicians in the state are also pushing a "personhood" ballot initiative, a 20-week abortion ban, and - in case they hadn't driven the point home already - a TRAP bill aimed at closing the last remaining abortion provider in the state.

We cannot go back to the days before Roe v. Wade, when abortion was illegal. Because when abortion is illegal, women are forced to seek unsafe abortion care that could have devastating effects.

We hope that Gov. Dalrymple will think long and hard about what these bills would mean for the reproductive health and well being of women in North Dakota before he signs this outrageous package of bills into law.

It's time for these anti-choice politicians to stop attacking choice, and start trusting women.

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Virginia TRAP Scheme Continues to Take its Toll

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Karen_Remley.jpegLeslie and Kate are members of NARAL Pro-Choice America's policy department.

For those of you following what seems like a never-ending battle against Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP) in Virginia, last week we saw a sad footnote to the year-long saga.

After serving for five years as Virginia's health commissioner, Dr. Karen Remley resigned from her position. She pointed to the political process surrounding the state's new TRAP regulations as the reason.

A dedicated public servant first appointed by then-Gov. Tim Kaine (D), and reappointed by current Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)--Dr. Remley had clearly prioritized public health over politics in carrying out her duties, serving ably under two different administrations. However, she could no longer abide by the political meddling and the departure from sound science the TRAP scheme represented.

After we reported on the pro-choice victory this summer, anti-choice politicians forced the hand of the board of health, and it approved the TRAP regulations on September 26. Anti-choice Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli certified them immediately. The regulations are currently with Gov. McDonnell, who is certain to approve them.

In her letter to the governor, Dr. Remley said:

I personally committed to you when I accepted your appointment that I would lower abortion rates in our state by both the application of evidence based approaches and also the thoughtful implementation of abortion regulations if authorized to do so by the General Assembly and signed into law by yourself. I have honored those commitments on both accounts...Unfortunately, how specific sections of the Virginia Code pertaining to the development and enforcement of these regulations have been and continue to be interpreted has created an environment in which my ability to fulfill my duties is compromised and in good faith I can no longer serve in my role.

Despite claims that the TRAP regulations were motivated by concern for women's health and safety, this latest event proves that TRAP regulations are in no way related to public health.

Anti-choice politicians' attempts to close abortion providers in Virginia has been so overtly political that they ultimately drove out a dedicated public servant with an impeccable record for fairness and commitment to sound science.

Photo Credit: Virginia Department of Health
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Last week, Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, wrote a post on the proposed Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers, or TRAP requirements that anti-choice Gov. Bob McDonnell was pushing.

Well, we have an update from the Old Dominion, and it has some good news for Virginia women, but the issue is far from resolved.

Late Friday afternoon, the Virginia Board of Health amended a key provision of the draft TRAP requirements.

The amendment means that existing women's health care centers that provide safe, legal first-trimester abortion care will be "grandfathered in," rather than being subjected to onerous and unnecessary forced building requirements. This is a vote on the side of women's health and wellbeing in Virginia.

Special thanks to NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and its allies in the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women's Health for fighting against restrictive and unnecessary TRAP requirements.

They won an important round in this fight for women's health, but stay tuned for additional opportunities to take action.

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Stop McDonnell & Cuccinelli's TRAP scheme

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Tarina Keene is executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.

Sanity seems to have left the commonwealth of Virginia.

Earlier this year, the country watched with shock and awe as Virginia passed a mandatory ultrasound bill that forces a woman to undergo an ultrasound procedure before receiving an abortion - even if she does not want an ultrasound and even if her doctor thinks it is unnecessary. Now, the Old Dominion - Thomas Jefferson's commonwealth - is again poised to humiliate women and doctors by shutting off access to safe, legal abortion.

Since the McDonnell Administration and an activist attorney general came into power two and half years ago, the policy making process has been wrought with duplicitous backroom deals and contrived regulations in an effort to ban abortion... and even birth control. So far, they've gotten away with it.

This Friday, the Virginia Board of Health will again meet to consider proposed permanent regulations for women's health centers - what we call "TRAP," targeted regulations on abortion providers. But don't be fooled. These proposed regulations have nothing to do with patient care or safety despite what McDonnell and Cuccinelli may purport. They want to force doctors' offices that provide first trimester abortion - and have been doing so safely for nearly 40 years - to now convert themselves overnight into mini-hospitals, which you may agree is nearly impossible to do! The Board of Health literally is imposing new 2010 hospital construction guidelines on doctors' offices that have been open and operating for four decades! What this means is that women's health centers must spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars adding additional toilets, expanding the size of their doors and hallways, increasing treatment rooms to the size of your car garage, making sure there are as many parking spaces as there are beds (even though there are no overnight stays), and expensive, very specific ventilation systems. All this for one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States today, which generally takes fewer than 10 minutes to complete.

Simply put - if regulations are passed as written with these forced building construction requirements, the majority of the state's abortion providers may be forced to close putting women's health and safety at risk.

What does this mean for women? Under the proposed permanent regulations, the 20 women's health centers that provide safe, affordable early abortion care in Virginia will be forced by the government to comply with overly burdensome, medically unnecessary regulations to just keep their doors open - costs that could be so high that health centers are forced to close their doors entirely. This has a detrimental impact on women's access to affordable healthcare, especially for young, low-income, uninsured or underinsured, rural and minority women who count on women's health centers around the state for their primary care. If even one health center closes, that could mean higher costs for women who already struggle to access and pay for healthcare.

We need to bring sanity back to the commonwealth of Virginia and end attacks on women's health and privacy. Without public action or legislative oversight, Gov. McDonnell and AG Cuccinell will have a free pass to implement the most aggressive laws in the country to impede access to women's health care and abortion. This overreach of power is unconscionable! But it's not too late.

The regulations are before the Virginia Board of Health this Friday June 15. If approved through the next stages of the regulatory process, these regulations will become law in early 2013. Please ask each of the 15 BOH members to use their medical expertise - not politics- to make the logical decision to stop this insane attempt to impose politically motivated regulations onto abortion providers. The women of Virginia are counting on them.

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Pennsylvania Governor Signs Anti-Choice Bill

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Call it the winter of 69.

Anti-choice Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett just signed a new anti-choice bill into law, bringing the number of anti-choice measures enacted in the states in 2011 to 69.

The measure Gov. Corbett signed is a TRAP law, or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. It subjects abortion providers to unnecessary and burdensome regulations that other medical professionals don't have to follow.

Despite the outcome, we were proud to work with allies in the Keystone State to counter this measure. More than 800 of our activists called on Gov. Corbett to veto the bill. Apparently, listening to the public is not in vogue this season.

The enactment of Pennsylvania's TRAP law comes just two days after anti-choice Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law a ban on insurance coverage of abortion care from the state's new health-insurance exchange.

We knew Pennsylvania could never let Ohio have the last word.

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Highlights and Lowlights: Your Round-Up from the States

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There was a flurry of choice-related headlines from the states this week--some of them very, very good, some of them horrid.

Let's get the horrid news out of the way:

The commonwealth of Virginia has seen more than its fair share of extreme attacks on a woman's right to choose this year. a state board voted to adopt politically motivated rules governing health centers that provide abortion care. The new regulations threaten to close 21 abortion providers. So, women lose access to abortion care as a result of the policies passed by anti-choice politicians. As Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated clearly, the personal is connected to the political:

These regulations, singling out women's health centers for burdensome and medically-unnecessary new requirements, remind us once again the importance of elections. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia will be working in the next few months to hold anti-choice elected officials accountable by mobilizing voters to elect candidates to the state General Assembly who will not play politics with women's health.

Let's cross the Potomac and get back to Washington, D.C., where a Senate committee passed a bill that does NOT include the D.C. abortion ban. You know, it's the ban that blocks the city's elected leaders from using local funds to provide abortion care to low-income women.

(Yes, I know D.C. is not a state. That's why Congress has control over the city's local affairs in the first place.)

Our activists flooded Senate offices with tons of messages, so it's good to see this bit of progress, even though the bill has a long, long way to go.

Now...are you ready for the straight-up good news of the weekend? I thought so.

For that, let's go to the Granite State. (You know, the place where Rep. Michele Bachmann thinks the Revolutionary War started.) You might recall that a state council in New Hampshire voted to end a contract with Planned Parenthood that threatened thousands of residents' access to contraception, cancer screenings, and other basic care.

You may also remember one council member, Raymond Wieczorek, who expressed his thoughts on women who use contraception:

If they want to have a good time, why not let them pay for it?

Well, this week, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (a past recipient of NARAL Pro-Choice America's Champion of Choice award) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will ensure that residents of the state continue to have affordable access to these critical services.

NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire summed it up in this way:

We applaud Sen. Shaheen for her leadership in standing up for women's access to basic, affordable health care in our state. The Executive Council played politics with the health care of thousands of New Hampshire men and women. The public outrage, combined with Sen. Shaheen's persistence and the Obama administration's decision to ensure women's access to contraception and cancer screenings, made this important victory possible. But we encourage New Hampshire residents to continue to let their elected officials know that blatant political attacks on women's health are unacceptable.

As we told our good friend Felicity Huffman, it's best to end on a good note.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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Get the Scoop on Virginia from Rachel Maddow

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Earlier this year, the commonwealth of Virginia enacted a far-reaching TRAP law, or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers.

TRAP laws are unnecessary and burdensome regulations on abortion providers--but not other medical professionals. They're an obvious attempt to drive doctors out of practice and make abortion care more expensive and difficult to obtain.

Virginia's Department of Health is expected to announce today draft rules for the implementation of the new TRAP law. These rules could jeopardize women's access to safe, legal abortion and other reproductive-health care in the state.

Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, went on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show last night to speak out against burdensome regulations:

If you live in the Old Dominion, check with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia for ways to take action to protect access to safe, legal abortion care in Virginia.

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