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Fairfax County to share available reproductive health resources after Roe v. Wade ends

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at a previous meeting

Information on reproductive rights resources will be posted to the Fairfax County website in light of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Last week’s decision leaves it up to individual states to determine regulations for abortions. Some states have trigger laws that went into immediate effect to ban abortions, but Virginia is not one of those states, though the governor has said he will seek to prohibit most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay received calls from people who thought the Supreme Court’s decision banned reproductive health services in Virginia, he said today (Tuesday) at the board meeting.

“And that’s simply not the truth,” he said.

The Board of Supervisors directed staff from the county’s Health and Human Services agencies to collect information for them about the reproductive healthcare resources and women’s health services available in the county through private, nonprofit, and public sector organizations, according to a unanimously approved motion.

Those resources will also inform the webpage for residents on what’s currently available.

“It’s important for us to make sure that…while this is not a decision for the Board of Supervisors, at this time of anxiety, we make sure that people know what their rights are, know what resources are available to them, and know where to find those,” McKay said.

The board also directed its legislative director to keep it up to date on potential initiatives in the General Assembly that could “either threaten or protect reproductive rights in Virginia.” If needed, a committee meeting will be scheduled to further discuss potential additions to the package of legislative priorities that the board sends to state lawmakers every year, McKay said.

All board members supported providing the information on reproductive health services to the public. Some gave emotional comments on the importance of abortion rights.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said that abortions were illegal in Argentina, where she emigrated from when she was young, and she never imagined that would become true in the U.S.

“Many lives were lost because those laws were in place,” she said.

Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith said she’s thankful the information on reproductive rights access in the county will be shared with the community but got emotional during her comments.

“The meat of this issue is that women should have the right to take care of their own bodies with their medical professional,” she said.

McKay said it’s not only a moral obligation to defend rights when they are being stripped away, but also is an economic issue. He questioned whether large corporations would still be interested in coming to Virginia and Fairfax County, which is one of the largest areas of employment in Virginia, if the state restricts abortion access.

McKay and Lee District Supervisor Lusk said if the state does restrict abortions, it will especially affect young and low-income women, who do not have the resources to travel to a state that has access to safe reproductive care.

The county’s programs are what support those families and will need to be able to respond if the state moves to ban access, McKay said.

“There’s a lot of reasons why we need to weigh in on this,” he said. “It’s very much a connection to what we do in local government.”

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