Virginia Legislature Removes Medically Unnecessary Barriers to Abortion Access

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Today, the Virginia General Assembly passed the Reproductive Health Protection Act, which will expand access to abortion care by repealing medically unnecessary restrictions that have made it difficult for Virginians to access safe and legal abortion care for years.

The Act strikes down the following restrictions:

  • The Two-Trip Mandatory Delay Law: A law forcing pregnant people to undergo an unnecessary ultrasound, listen to state-mandated biased counseling, and then wait at least 24 hours before their procedure. This means pregnant people are unnecessarily delayed in accessing care because they must make at least two trips to the clinic, creating onerous burdens—especially for poor and low-income people—seeking care in the Commonwealth.
  • The Licensing Law: A law targeting abortion providers that subjects them to a burdensome, medically unnecessary regulatory scheme that applies to no other medical professionals and has no legitimate medical basis. 
  • The Physicians Only Law: A law prohibiting trained and qualified advanced practice clinicians from providing first-trimester abortion care.

Statement from Elisabeth Smith, Chief Counsel for State Policy & Advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Across the country, we are seeing states like Virginia fight back against the national, coordinated campaign to push abortion care out of reach.

Over the last decade, the number of facilities providing abortion care in Virginia has declined by more than half, making it progressively more difficult and expensive to access abortion. The act passed today repeals some of the harsh laws that contributed to that decline—laws that serve no purpose other than to make it harder for Virginians to access abortion care.

We hope other states will be inspired to follow suit and prioritize protections for reproductive health care this year. With an anti-abortion administration at the helm, it’s more important than ever for states to pass laws like this one, expanding access to abortion for their constituents.” 

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