Protests to reopen Virginia take on partisan tone, abortions center stage
RICHMOND, Virginia (WRIC) – Protests for the reopening of the economy take on a partisan tone.
With another rally scheduled for Richmond tomorrow, the Virginia Republican Party accuses Gov. Ralph Northam of putting his party’s ideology above public health. Meanwhile, the state Democratic Party is calling Republicans “imbalanced” for their efforts to undermine the governor and score “cheap political points” ahead of the drive-through protest.
In a recent statement, the RPV mocked the governor’s calls for unity during the pandemic, arguing that “when the state bans dentists because it’s unsafe, but deems an abortion safe, it isn’t. not a health issue. ”
The statement refers to Northam’s decision not to include abortions under its decree banning elective surgeries, an effort to preserve personal protective equipment for the treatment of coronaviruses. In fact, the same order allowing “family planning” services to continue also allows dental procedures where delays could lead to worsening of conditions.
The criticism comes from the fact that at least seven conservative governors are being challenged in court over their efforts to ban abortion during the pandemic. The Texas ban was appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation, said the abortion industry should not be given special treatment at a time when all industries are making sacrifices.
“Gov. Northam puts the profits of the billion dollar abortion industry above the health and safety of all Virginians, ”Cobb said. “Ideology about it shouldn’t be driving decisions right now.”
“This is the very last place a woman should be in the middle of a pandemic,” Cobb continued.
Shanthi Ramesh, OBGYN and medical director of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, said abortions are an essential procedure that cannot be delayed.
“The earlier in pregnancy you have an abortion, the safer it is,” Ramesh said. “So for patients, being delayed for a few days to several weeks could mean they can’t access care at all.”
Ramesh said that after 10 weeks of pregnancy, taking an abortion pill is no longer an option. Ramesh said temporary bans on the procedure in other states have forced patients to violate travel guidelines during the pandemic.
“We’ve actually seen patients travel from out of state to seek abortion care in Virginia,” Ramesh said. “It is the patients who cannot afford to travel who will end up being the most affected.”
Ramesh said she still sees the same volume of patients in her clinic – around 15 to 20 per day – with a few procedural changes to keep everyone safe.
For example, Virginia law currently requires women to have two dates to have an abortion. At the first appointment, Ramesh said patients come for their ultrasound and then follow the in-depth counseling session remotely.
“We have made major changes to our operating procedures in terms of doing more telehealth, trying to limit the number of people who are in our health centers at any given time for social distancing,” Ramesh said.