NOVA Women’s Healthcare, an abortion provider that is repudiated to be the busiest clinic in Virginia, has closed its facility in Fairfax as a result of new city regulations combined with impending new Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP laws). NOVA was one of the main abortion clinics in the Northern Virginia area, and a main provider of low-cost cancer-screenings, birth control options, and other women’s health services.
In an effort to meet new regulations that require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as new hospitals and the struggle against lawsuits from the property owners at its current location, NOVA tried to relocate. However, their nonresidential use permit was denied for a potential new location on the grounds the facility lacked adequate parking. The clinic decided not to petition the city council for a special exception.
In addition, on Tuesday the Fairfax city council voted on Tuesday to change its zoning regulations after learning of the clinic’s attempts to relocate. The new city regulations mandate that all abortion clinics be considered “medical care” centers, obtain a special permit from the council after a stringent process. The permit alone would have cost NOVA $4,800.
It is unclear if NOVA will reopen in the future. Another facility, Hillcrest Clinic in Norfolk, closed its doors because of the new state TRAP law in April. Though 18 clinics now remain in Virginia, it is uncertain how they will be able to handle the new regulations. Falls Church Healthcare Center has filed a legal challenge to the law, arguing that the Board of Health violated a governor’s order to take into account how the law would impact small businesses.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 7/15/2013; Washington Post 7/15/2013; Feminist Newswire 6/14/2013, 4/12/2013