Today is National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers, and could not have come at more appropriate time.
Abortion providers across the country face serious, daily threats of violence and harassment. The brave doctors, nurses and staff deal with constant protest, stalking, bomb threats, arson, suspicious mail and even death threats. And we are all still reeling from the assassination two years ago of Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, gunned down by anti-choice extremist Scott Roeder while attending church.
Abortion providers go to work every day knowing they will be harassed and threatened directly. They also face constant political and legislative attack. In Virginia, we know these attacks all too well. At the close of the 2011 General Assembly session, and after over two decades of pushing for more and more restrictions, reckless, out-of-touch anti-choice legislators snuck in an amendment to an unrelated bill which now requires the Board of Health define first-trimester abortion providers as a type of hospital.
We do not know what regulations the Board of Health will propose. However, abortion-rights opponents have cited South Carolina precedent (PDF), which prescribed regulations concerning size of parking lot, size of doors and hallways and even lawn care (PDF)!
Virginia’s abortion providers face constant unwarranted obstacles to continuing to offer their services. Rosemary Codding, Director of the Falls Church Healthcare Center (a member of the Abortion Care Network), talks about these obstacles in a recent interview. In the midst and despite of incessant anti-choice attacks, our abortion providers work to offer Virginia women necessary and respectful reproductive care. Some of the facilities offer a range of gynecological services. Some even offer the flu vaccine!
Virginia women deserve access to comprehensive care. Virginia women deserve access to trusted and dedicated providers who will treat them with respect and dignity, and offer reproductive care for where they are in life. And Virginia abortion providers deserve to be treated with the respect they deserve as valuable members of the medical community, who quite literally risk their lives to support the lives of others.
So on this National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers, please send a quick call or note to Virginia’s abortion providers (find a list here) or show your support by signing the Abortion Provider’s Declaration of Rights.
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia staff, supporters and activists stand up today and say a heartfelt thank you to all our abortion providers who give women of the Commonwealth a choice, day after day.
P.S. Check out the video thank you message from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice to our nation’s abortion providers.