Planned Parenthood Pushing Back Against New Regulations

By: Rachel Ryan Email
By: Rachel Ryan Email

Sarah Weddington remembers successfully arguing Roe v. Wade in front of the Supreme Court when she was only 26 years old. Four decades later, she says she's surprised by how little things have changed since then.

"If you had said to me the day that I won Roe v. Wade, you will still be talking about this in 40 years, I never would have believed that," Weddington said.

The attorney and former Texas state legislator spoke at a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood at the Boar's Head in Charlottesville. "While abortion is legal now, thanks to Roe v. Wade, it is becoming more and more unavailable and that's the intent of those totally opposed to Roe v. Wade and opposed to women making their own choices.

Last month the Virginia Board of Health signed off on new laws requiring abortion clinics to meet the same building code as hospitals. The new regulations include the widening hallways and doorways, space for janitorial closets, and drinking fountains.

"These guidelines are unnecessary to guarantee patient safety and are very onerous and expensive," said Melissa Reed, vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood. "It will cost thousands and thousands of dollars for health care centers to comply."

As funding threats grow and new regulations make it harder to operate, Planned Parenthood officials say they are depending on private donations to pick up the slack.

"Because of the amped up attacks on women's health care, we've gotten thousands of more folks signed up to support Planned Parenthood," said Reed.

The organization has held several fundraising events across the country, with Weddington headlining as the keynote speaker. "Planned Parenthood will be here for our patients no matter what," Reed said.

None of the 20 clinics currently providing abortion services in Virginia meet the new building standards. The facilities must meet the new standards within two years in order to apply for a new license.


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