Abortion Groups Seek To Knock Down Virginia Restrictions With Lawsuit

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Grace Carr Reporter
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A number of abortion groups sued the state of Virginia Wednesday because they are dissatisfied that women face a law requiring them to receive an ultrasound and wait 24 hours before aborting.

Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, Charlottesville Whole Woman’s Health Alliance and a number of other abortion clinics in the state filed their lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Richmond Wednesday.

Whole Woman’s Health president Amy Hagstrom Miller said Virginia’s restrictions are not meant to make women safer, but are intended make it harder to get abortive health care. The abortion organization opened a clinic in Charlottesville in October 2017.

Since a 2016 ruling where a federal judge nixed two Texas laws limiting abortion, Whole Women’s Health has been encouraged to strike down other abortion restrictions, Miller noted. “The Whole Woman’s Health Supreme Court victory was game-changing — affirming that abortion laws must be based on medical evidence,” Miller said, according to The Washington Post. “We’re using this new standard to challenge dozens of other restrictions, some dating back decades, that are based on ideology, not health or science.” (RELATED: Abortion Clinics File Lawsuit Against Texas Over Abortion Restrictions)

Virginia law mandates that a woman seeking to abort must receive counseling and wait 24 hours after her doctor’s visit before she can have an abortion. She must also have an ultrasound prior to the abortion. Virginia does not restrict first-trimester abortion and mandates only that second-trimester abortions occur at a licensed hospital. Women may only abort in the third trimester if their life will be put in danger by continuing the pregnancy.

Pro-life groups maintain that the state’s abortion limitations are meant to keep women safe and provide them with the best healthcare. “Virginians support common sense health standards like ensuring surgeries, including abortion, are performed by doctors,” said Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb, WaPo reported.

Abortion groups have repeatedly been suing states after 2016 in hopes of getting abortion restrictions blocked or repealed. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights sued the state of Arkansas in June 2017 over its abortion restrictions. Planned Parenthood Great Plains and Little Rock Family Planning Services also filed a lawsuit in 2017 seeking to dismantle the Arkansas law allowing the state to shut down an abortion clinic if it violates the law in any way.

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