In April 2020, Governor Northam signed the Reproductive Health Protection Act (RHPA) into law — a law which rolls back certain restrictions placed on abortion providers in the Commonwealth of Virginia nearly a decade ago. The passage of RHPA through the Virginia House and Senate and across the governor’s desk is a victory which affirms the rights of pregnant people in Virginia to make decisions about their own bodies without the state coming between themselves and their health care practitioners. We at FCHC are proud to have been part of the process to emphasize the importance of RHPA to the legislators and voters of Virginia.
On July 1 when RHPA takes effect, we’ll be seeing the relaxation of restrictions and the opportunity to expand access to abortion care across the state. Here’s what we’re looking forward to at FCHC:
- We will have the opportunity to prioritize more time and resources to patient care. Over the past several years, we’ve had to to jump through certain hoops mandated by the legislative body of the state due to specific requirements which were added in 2011. The RHPA relaxes these restrictions — meaning that we have more of an opportunity to provide our patients the care and attention they deserve.
- We are returning to the way we welcomed patients for abortion care for years: in one visit. FCHC has been serving patients in Northern Virginia since 2002 — and we were able to do so safely and responsibly in a single visit. Beginning on July 1 patients will no longer be subject to a 24-hour waiting period between visits to our Center. This benefits our patients by saving time and resources. It means no longer having to take off an extra day of work. Or to find transportation to our Center for an additional day. Or to secure childcare for that extra day. This helps to make abortion care more accessible for those who choose it.
- Ultrasounds have always been a part of patient care — but now it can be a decision made solely between patient and provider. The decision of what is best for the patient will no longer be mandated by the state; instead, it will involve a conversation between patients and their doctor and allow for case-by-case situations. We support our patients having more control and consent regarding their bodies.
- We are working to minimize the amount of time patients need to be in our facility. With more opportunities to complete intake paperwork and make informed choices about their abortion care online, patients can schedule their appointments and become prepared during off-hours at home rather than have to wait for processing while waiting in our lobby. Especially during this time of COVID we’re looking to make the patient experience as healthy, safe and relaxed as possible as we follow our physical distancing guidelines in our facility.
As an independent care facility, we’ve been working with all of our staff to determine how best to serve our patients with possibilities which will become open to us. We’re determining how this may expand our scheduling opportunities and possibilities for remote consultation! We’ll be sure to keep you posted as we introduce and roll out these changes to provide the best possible opportunities for our patients.
We’re excited about these changes — and we hope you are, too!