Hundreds Rally to Protest Virginia TRAP Laws

By Feminist Campus Team
Protesters advocating against Virginia TRAP laws.

On Saturday, October 15, hundreds of people gathered in Richmond, Virginia, to protest the passage of Virginia’s TRAP Laws by the Virginia Board of Health. The protest, which was held in Monroe Park, near Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), brought together the combined forces of progressive students and esteemed women’s activists to form a rallying cry against regulations that seek to strip women of their rights to privacy and choice.

The rally called on Governor Bob McDonnell (R) and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to reconsider their stance on the TRAP Laws and was organized by the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health with volunteers from NARAL Pro Choice America, Planned Parenthood, and the Feminist Majority Foundation. The TRAP Laws classify women’s health centers as hospitals in order to impose new restrictive regulations that could potentially close down most, if not all, women’s health centers in Virginia.

Carmen Berkley, Field Director of Choice USA, spoke of how pro-choice activists are tired of lawmakers overstepping their bounds and jeopardizing the health and well-being of women across the nation. “We are sick and tired of governors from Maine to California trying to tell us what to do with our bodies,” she said.

Sindy Benavides, Director of Community Outreach for the Democratic National Committee and Latino Liaison for Governor Timothy Caine, spoke as a woman of color who believes economic prosperity should be a top prority in America, not restricting women’s access to abortion care. She told the crowd, “at this particular time of economic downturn in America, at which many people of color are struggling to find quality care, these policies are a distraction from what we should be focusing and working on.”

Benavides also gave an emotional testimonial of her own experience as a survivor of sexual abuse. “I remember those days of guilt and shame, of not knowing how to tell my family what happened, and worst of all, not knowing why it happened to me…Virginia’s reproductive health care centers provide more than just choice, they provide women the opportunity to take care of themselves and to live a life,” Benavides tearfully recalled. Her speech was met with an uproar of cheers from the crowd.

Rally keynote Eleanor Smeal, co-founder and President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, said that job security is a primary concern of Americans right now, and should also be the priority for politicians. “The more we talk about jobs, the more they pass bills to prohibit the access not only to abortion, but to birth control,” Smeal said.

At the end of the rally, protesters in the crowd were fired up about what they could do to further the cause of justice for women.

“I try to educate people as much as I can, in ways that are relevant, because it really is, and it (reproductive health laws) affects us (women) the most, frankly,” said Christina, a protester from Newport News, Virginia.

Another protester, a college student at the University of Mary Washington, said, “I think that it’s a very crucial time right now and I think that we need to get organized so that this attack on women can end.”

By Feminist Campus Team


1 comment

  1. I feel as though the law should NOT permit woman from having abortions or taking away from the many birth control options that we have. This is a way for them to try to control our lives even more with more laws. Sometimes things happen that are out of a womans control and If that woman chooses to use a birthcontrol method or even an abortion in that case then so be it. It is “HER” body. No one should have to control a womans body.. Taking away abortions may even case more crimes. There are men that cheat on their women and end up getting other women pregnant and then in the end he want that women to get an abortion so that his wife dont find out and if she does not have that option even though it is up to her anyway who know what he will do. Its been so many situations of men that have killed women including their babies all because the female did not have an abortion. If anything they need to come up with some type of laws for men. Not taking a way the abortion rights. if a woman gets raped many may choose just not to have the child. Our foster homes are already over populated this would cause even more population and more poverty levels. DON’T TAKE THIS RIGHT AWAY!!!

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