Protect Abortion Clinics From Unfair Legal Expenses

Target: Fairfax City Council

Goal: Don’t require clinics to obtain council approval and special use permits

The city council in Fairfax, Virginia recently voted to approve a new zoning law that requires all “medical care facilities” to obtain a special use permit costing $4,800. The council also voted to remove the term “clinic” from the current definition of a doctor’s office.

These changes make it harder for abortion clinics to operate in Fairfax City. Prior to the change, abortion clinics were in the same category as doctors’ and dentists’ offices and therefore could operate without acquiring a special permit.

There is only one women’s health clinic in Fairfax, and it provides a range of services in addition to abortion. This clinic is now subject to the new law and must seek council approval before it can continue to operate.

The new wording of the zoning law is very vague, and there’s a lot of uncertainty as to what will be viewed as a medical care facility. Councilmember Daniel Drummond insisted that the law is merely a zoning amendment that allows the public to have a say in where medical facilities are located. However, the changes appear to be fueled by political motives, as they clearly will make it more difficult for health clinics providing comprehensive services for women to move into the city.

Sign the petition below to tell the Fairfax city council to bring more clarity to its zoning laws so they do not unfairly discriminate against women’s health clinics. Don’t allow local officials to restrict access to healthcare.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Fairfax City Council,

The recently approved changes to existing zoning laws in the city are vague and discriminatory. The removal of the word “clinic” from the definition of a doctor’s office and the addition of permit requirements for “medical care facilities” has created confusion as to which healthcare service providers will be required to obtain the $4,800 special use permits.

The zoning law changes further efforts to keep health clinics that provide abortion services out of the city of Fairfax. These clinics provide a number of important, lifesaving services to women. By making it harder for these clinics to operate in the city, you are restricting access to healthcare.

I urge you to bring clarity to the zoning laws and allow clinics to fall under the same category as doctors’ offices as they used to. Requiring medical care facilities to seek council approval and acquire expensive special use permits is unnecessary and only makes it more difficult for healthcare providers to give people important medical care.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Mercy Health via Flickr

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  • Jessica Mowry
  • scanalyse
  • Victoria Pitchford
  • Ginger Hill
  • Shiu Hung
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