Manassas Mayor Parrish’s Zoning Ordinance prohibits Women Health Care Center

Virginia-TRAP-Abortion-Clinics (photo from Google Images)

On May 26, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC, Inc., held a Women’s health care activist training program in Manassas, VA where Manassas City Council is trying to apply zoning ordinance restriction on abortion clinics. This restriction requires public hearing, city council vote, and special permit (costing between $1000-1500) for an abortion clinic to move into Manassas or relocate within Manassas. The special permit would take longer to grant, and the clinic must go through excessive red tape.

At the event, Alena Yarmosky of NARAL argued, “This will be a discrimination against Women, and zoning should not be political.”

The incumbent mayor of Manassas, Harry J. “Hal” Parrish II, argued, “It’s not about whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, it’s a land-use matter, and there are greater land-use impacts because of traffic and noise and other types of things. A special use permit allows these land-use impacts to be known in the community, mainly by other businesses.”

Councilman Marc Aveni (R) introduced the zoning ordinance. Vice Mayor Jonathan Way  (R) and Councilman Ian Lovejoy (R) support this extremist and outdated political tool geared against women’s health, masquerading as a zoning ordinance.

Councilman Mark Wolfe (R) and Councilwoman Sheryl Bass (R), and Councilman Ken Elston (D) oppose the zoning ordinance as restricting women’s access to healthcare.

Local women called this move a “city trap,” and a discrimination against women without health insurance, and those living entirely on Medicaid cannot obtain health services necessary for woman’s sexual health, such as pap smear or breast cancer monitoring if related to abortions due to an oppressive law passed by Virginia.

Recent nationwide poll by Hart Research Associates on behalf of Planned Parenthood Federation of America on the 20 week abortion ban, most people agree that, “[abortion ban] is the wrong issue for Congress and their state legislators to be spending time on,” and “7 in 10 Americans support women’s ability to access safe, legal abortion. Women value and rely on their relationships with their doctors and don’t want interference from politicians.”

Since 1973, politicians have used abortion as a political tool to repress women’s right to healthcare, making it difficult for women to have safe abortions. Under Virginia Code, all second and third trimester abortions must be in a hospital, and third trimester only provided in a hospital and when three physicians certify that pregnancy would likely result in substantial health impairment. No hospital or doctor is required to provide abortion care (VA. Code Ann, §18.2-72~75).

In 1999, Virginia voted to prevent Medicaid from covering care related to abortions (Va. Code Ann.  § 32.1-325).

By 2010, Virginia chose to deny Medicaid coverage for abortions even when woman’s health is at risk.

In 2012, Virginia forced health centers that provide abortions to meet building standards designated for new hospitals or close down.

In 2013, Republicans proposed to ban all abortions after 20 weeks, but thankfully was not passed.

In 2014, Virginia passed a requirement that women must be given an ultrasound at least 24 hours before an abortion and be asked to see it. Furthermore, no private insurance plan sold through online insurance marketplace can include abortion coverage.

The continuing restrictions on abortions and women’s sexual health is tightening, not just in other states, but also in Virginia. This zoning ordinance is yet another step toward preventing women from their right to receive accessible and open healthcare.

There are only eighteen facilities in Virginia offering comprehensive abortion and sexual health services, most of them only in major metropolitan areas. As Manassas tightens its control over abortion clinics, Manassas endangers the women’s right to choose and their lives.


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