Legislative Update

29 03 2011

By: Sarah Sonies

U.S. Capitol Building

U.S. Capitol Building

This blog post serves as a legislative update to the post on Reproductive Rights and Public Policy. Much of the coverage of the proposed legislation has blended with the discussion of the economy and the Congressional budget, as the possibility of a government shutdown looms with the impeding April 8 deadline.

However, there has been a notable development in the proposed Virginia abortion clinic legislation.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed a bill into law that will now require all Virginia abortion clinics that perform first-trimester abortions to abide by hospital regulations.

Some of the frames discussed throughout this blog that conservatives have used for reproductive issues in politics have been making women’s reproductive rights about the economy and the budget. However, McDonnell seems bent on framing the issue of regulating Virginia’s abortion clinics as a matter of safety.

McDonnell has made it clear that he intended to sign the bill and argued that “(the regulations) would improve the health of women who get abortions.”

Prior to McDonnell’s signing of the legislation, there was media coverage that served to clarify the results of what will happen to abortion clinics in Virginia possible legislation goes into effect. The media coverage has largely been in response to

According to the March 18 blog from TBD, the Virginia Board of Health was expected begin the process of enacting the new regulations when Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signs the bill. Therefore, what will happen to 17 out of 21 of Virginia’s abortion clinics will still largely depend on what the Board of Health defines as hospital regulations. However, the bill gives the state board 280 days to come up with the regulations, which are currently being drafted.

The Board of Health is currently performing research on other states that also enforce restrictions on abortion clinics and the TBD article states that the Board expects to be able to enact the regulations by Jan. 1, 2012.

A Feb. 24 blog from TBD concerning what is now a law in Virginia, further clarifies that the regulations apply to clinics that perform first-trimester abortions. Abortions performed past the first trimester have always been required to be performed in a hospital setting.

As far as the possible legislation in the Georgia House of Representatives that some say would criminalize miscarriages, the George General Assembly website does not have a record of the bill passing the second reading. The proposed legislation in Georgia garnered a lot of attention in February from pro-choice blogs, like Mother Jones which have highlighted the dangers of such drastic legislation.

Any media coverage about these issues should not be ignored and needs to be highlighted in order for not only understand the policies, but for women to be able to fully understand their reproductive rights.

In the news about the national Planned Parenthood funding cuts, Planned Parenthood President, Cecile Richards, addressed a crowd in New York City on Feb 26, urging young women to speak out about the national funding cuts the House proposed for women’s funding.

“(Congress) aimed both guns at the largest women’s healthcare provider in America, Planned Parenthood,” Richards said. “Ending our ability to provide life-saving cancer screenings … and sex education through any program.”

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