Inevitably, the polarizing nature of the abortion debate has the potential to harm women seeking basic gynecological services. This is currently the case in Hampton Roads, Virginia as health department officials struggle to make a decision on the licensing of new operating rooms at a Planned Parenthood health center.
As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, a proposal from the Hampton Roads affiliate of Planned Parenthood would offer outpatient surgical services to poor women. The proposed operating rooms are intended to treat various gynecological issues from pelvic pain to breast biopsies.
Planned Parenthood is arguing the proposal has nothing to do with abortion, while anti-choice leaders maintain that Planned Parenthood is “a business and their business is abortion.”
However, Dr. Robert A. Rashti, former chief executive officer of the Hampton Roads Planned Parenthood affiliate and neurosurgeon, reports that only about six percent of their services involve abortions.
Mitchell Miller, former president of the Medical Society of Virginia spoke out in support of Planned Parenthood’s application: “There are times when the needs of patients, especially those not blessed with full financial reserves, must transcend the political arena. This is one of those times.”
The national movement towards TRAP (Targeted Restrictions of Abortion Providers) regulations shows how far anti-choice legislators are willing to go to manipulate conversations of basic healthcare for women. The ultimate goal of such campaigns? To end access to safe, legal abortion.