By Olivia Gans Turner, President, Virginia Society for Human Life
Editor’s note. The following appeared over the weekend in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
A recent Times-Dispatch editorial is correct. Going forward, abortion policies in Virginia absolutely must put patient-provider relationships first.
It’s shameful that in 2020, radical members of the General Assembly who support abortion rights stripped away rational provisions in the Code of Virginia. These items guaranteed women considering an abortion would receive scientifically accurate information about their unborn child’s development, the potential risks of different procedures, and what their legal rights were if they decided to carry their pregnancy to term.
This extreme agenda stopped regulations that only licensed physicians should perform abortions or prescribe potentially dangerous abortion drugs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, new state and federal rules allowed those drugs to be sent to women after a telehealth visit, without a physical exam being required.
There no longer is a patient-physician relationship when mail-order abortions take place, with no doctor’s visit or ultrasound performed to ensure the women using the drugs even are pregnant.
It is hypocritical to claim we care about women’s access to appropriate health care, while allowing unscrupulous abortion providers to operate without reasonable regulations in the commonwealth.
Women need to be told everything about their bodies and their unborn child’s body before an irreversible abortion. They need to see a doctor in person. They should be told about the network of support — offered free of charge throughout Virginia by independent pregnancy services — to assist them in this critical, life-changing decision.
So, yes, let’s move to restore laws that respect and protect women, and act to provide the support they need. Both sides should be able to agree on this.