First Virginia Clinic Closes as Part of Republican Leaders’ TRAP Quest


VIDEO: Pro-Choicers Give Ken Cuccinelli’s Supporters A Taste of Anti-Choice Harassment Tactics

Pro-choicers harass Ken Cuccinelli’s supporters in the same style that anti-choicers harass women outside of abortion clinics and family planning clinics.

Virginia Republicans Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli have gotten their way; the state board of health has followed their directives to approve the unnecessary abortion provider regulations proposed by the state legislature, which are meant to close as many abortion clinics in the state as possible. Just a few months later, the effects of that legislation are already being felt.

Hillcrest Clinic has offered safe, legal abortion care for four decades. But now that care will be coming to an end. Hillcrest recently announced it would not be seeking renewal of its license, deciding that the new architectural regulations required by the state—widening hallways, changing the size of rooms, adding specialized sinks and sprinklers—would be too much of a financial burden.

“It’s a little bit bittersweet,” Suzette Caton, Hillcrest’s director, told the Pilot Online. “But I also feel like for 40 years we’ve had the honor of providing compassionate care to the women in Tidewater who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The staff upheld what the philosophy of the clinic was, and that was to ensure that women had access to a safe, legal abortion.”

Because it is so early, it’s unclear how many other clinics may follow in Hillcrest’s footsteps. After Pennsylvania passed a similar targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) law, the state went from 22 clinics down to 13, and some of the clinics that remained open had to stop accepting patients for periods of time while renovations were completed.

The clinics that do stay open are likely to see those doorways darkened by abortion opponents. Hillcrest had long seen anti-choice protesters at its building. With the closure, those anti-choice protesters are going to look for a new place to roost. In the past, Hillcrest saw its share of violence, including pipe bombs and arson attempts. But like most reproductive health organizations post-Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, so-called sidewalk counseling—really an attempt to harass patients, staff, and volunteers—has become the daily landscape.

How effective are protesters at changing the minds of individuals seeking abortion care? Given that they protest outside clinics daily, and the birthrate isn’t increasing, it seems fair to say their successes are minimal. But one local activist group has turned the tables, using “sidewalk counseling” techniques, such as filming patients, shouting at them through megaphones, and urging them to talk or pray with them, back on anti-choice politicians and their supporters. Coochwatch, a group of activists opposed to Ken Cuccinelli’s political aspirations, showed up for a local open house celebrating Cuccinelli’s new campaign headquarters for his upcoming run for governor. At the event, Coochwatch used the “sidewalk counseling” techniques on Cuccinelli’s supporters in an attempt to “persuade” them out of their personal decisions to support his run. (See video above.)

The group appears to have been about as successful as most “counselors” are at coercing women out of their choice to terminate a pregnancy once she has made up her mind to do so.

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  • Melissa

    That is wonderful news!! And way to perpetuate ignorant myths. Such as pro-life people are “anti-choice.” The SINGLE choice I do not support is the killing of a human being. Saying pro-life people are against “choice” makes it sound like we want to take away womens choices. Just one! NOT ALL. Just the one that results in a dead human being. Our next generation has become slaves in the womb. Victims of the ignorant who believe only the pre-
    planned are worthy of their lives. Don’t believe the lies, women. If you’re pregnant, you’re already that babies mom. Abortion may seem like your only option. But its not. You can do it!! Many women mourn the loss of their child and don’t realize that once they abort their milk can come in and that they will live with remorse that will eat away at them for decades to come. I speak from experience. I want to save women from my fate. I use my experience to help women be aware of the risks. But the choice is always theirs. They are the ones who have to live with knowing what they’ve done.

    • HeilMary1

      No woman deserves the grisly, deadly injuries that fetuses inflict. All abortions are self-defense and are far safer than bankrupting, disfiguring childbirth. Far more women regret childbirths over abortions, and you know it, hypocrite!

      • http://www.facebook.com/ingrid.heimark.5 Ingrid Heimark

        I have met several women who deeply regret their abortions and have real emotional problems after it. I have only met ONE woman regret her childbirth. And I have met several victims of sexual assault who are glad they discovered their pregnancy after the legal limit for abortion here had passed.
        So, you are wrong. I never hope for women to have problems after abortions, I wnat everyone to be mentally healthy, but sadly that’s not the case.

    • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

      I respect the fact that you have regret about your choice. I’m sure your pain is very real and I’m sorry for you. However, not everyone does regret that choice, and the fact that you do does not give you any right to try and take that choice away from other women. And yes, telling a woman she has to carry a pregnancy that she does not want is definitely anti-choice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Feral.9.Hex Carla Clark

      That’s why we don’t call you anti-choices…? Oi. You are opposed to a choice, thus anti-CHOICE. A fetus is human/a human being but not a person/human being. And YOU’RE the ones who want to make women slaves to their wombs. Do you say we make rapists slaves of the vagina by defending our bodily autonomy from them? No? Hypocrite. Fetuses aren’t babies. Pregnant women aren’t mothers.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ingrid.heimark.5 Ingrid Heimark

        Some years ago the supreme court decided blacksweren’t persons either, I think we should look at the facts, not the varying politics, and the facts are a new human being is present from the moment of conception. Dehumanizing that human has only one purpose, making it easier to kill it.Abortion isn’t a right, thus we are not anti-choice. We support all choices that should be legal