The Virginia Catholic Conference is sounding the alarm on a new zoning amendment under consideration by the Alexandria City Council that could make it easier for abortion clinics to be constructed by designating them as a “healthcare-related” entity.
The group, which represents the diocese of Arlington and Richmond, Virginia, said this week that the new amendment being considered would give abortion clinics “special status” in areas zoned for commercial and mixed use properties by explicitly listing abortion clinics as health offices and medical care facilities.
“The amendment would allow clinics that provide ‘abortion services’ to set up in these areas ‘by right,’ meaning with no consideration to potential impacts on the area and regardless of Alexandria’s need for primary care physicians and other life-saving health clinics,” the group said.
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Demonstrators protest about abortion outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Alexandria City Council is expected to meet on April 15 to consider the amendment. The Virginia Catholic Conference is urging local citizens to contact the city council to “oppose this political statement to prioritize abortion regardless of any impact to the area.”
“Abortion clinics should not be prioritized over other establishments that satisfy the current definition of a health profession office,” the group said in a statement that they recommend using to convince council members to oppose the measure.
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“Unlike the services provided by primary care physicians, gastroenterologists, and ear, nose, and throat physicians, all of which conduct outpatient surgery, abortion is not a preventative or life-saving health care service. It ends lives rather than healing or saving them,” it said.
Protesters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., decry the abortion ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
“Rather than making unnecessary political amendments to the zoning code, the City should be focused on collaborating with the health care community to serve those who need primary care and preventative services and therefore contribute to the overall well-being of the City and its residents,” the group said, adding that the city should instead focus on efforts tailored to mothers and children.
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Currently in Virginia, abortion is legal through the second trimester — roughly 26 weeks into pregnancy. A full term pregnancy is considered to be roughly 40 weeks.
Anti-abortion campaigners celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022. (OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Following the Dobbs v. Whole Women’s Health Supreme Court decision last summer, which overturned the 50-year federal precedent of Roe v. Wade and returned the question of abortion rights back to the states, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin pushed to allow abortion in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, and ban it afterward. But those efforts were met with opposition in the state legislature.
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According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a fetus can feel pain at 26 weeks. Around this time, experts say, a fetus has fully formed eyes, can hear and react to sound, and may be pictured in an ultrasound sucking his or her thumb.
The clerk for the Alexandria City Council did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.