by Aisha Huertas Michel, Director, Patricia M. Arnold Women's Rights Project
Last year, we told you about a proposed city of Manassas zoning law that would have discriminated against women’s health care centers that provide abortion. Through our advocacy efforts, we were able to stop politicians in Manassas from passing that law. Unfortunately, they are at it again!
Monday night, the Manassas City Council met to discuss the fate of women’s health care centers that provide abortion. Just like they’ve done repeatedly over the past year, the City Council once again ignored recommendations from their own experts, and instead pushed changes to the city’s zoning law that would prevent safe, legal abortion providers from locating in the city. How? They want to require most abortion providers – any provider who performs five or more abortions per month - who want to locate in Manassas to have a special permit to practice in the city. The special permit requires hurdles not applied to other medical offices that provide similar, noninvasive outpatient care, like doctors and dentists. Treating medical providers who perform abortion services differently than medical providers who perform similar services makes it clear that these City Council members have one goal –to block abortion access. It is yet another example of politicians interfering in decisions that should be between a woman and her doctor.
Next Monday (April 27) the City Council will meet again to vote on this proposed zoning law. We must take a stand against this transparent attempt to deny women access to safe, legal abortion!
The city’s zoning law should not make it disproportionately difficult for women’s health centers to operate or locate within Manassas. The zoning of any health care provider, be it physician’s or dentist’s offices or abortion providers, must be done without discrimination and applied equally.
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