The Alone Track
Diary on "the War on Women" at Daily Kos

Chipping Away at Women’s Rights in Northern Virginia

At 7:40PM, I read an email that I received at 4:22PM. The email from Planned Parenthood begins: “The City of Fairfax is voting TONIGHT, July 9 on a proposed ordinance that would arbitrarily single out women’s health centers from other medical facilities and if passed, would allow the city to block any abortion provider from moving into its boundaries. Now that the state TRAP law has passed and is being implemented, we cannot let localities increase the burdens on women’s health centers with additional local TRAP laws!”

I had just finished watching TV when I saw this email. I quickly got dressed and drove to the meeting—about a 20-minute traffic-free drive. For some reason I was expecting throngs in the streets; or at the very least, difficulty finding a parking place, but neither was the case. The meeting was going on, and the Council Chambers wasn’t full. Luckily, I automatically went to the left side of the room (a lefty’s instinct), which was where a group of people from NARAL were sitting, so all was good—at least with the seating arrangements.

Since I arrived almost an hour and a half late, I missed all of the citizen statements and was there just a few minutes before the ordinance came up for a vote. A few council members found it incumbent upon themselves to state that this was not a political issue, but merely a zoning issue. Sure. An ordinance (in the words of the email) that “will force centers to incur additional costs and barriers to complying with the state TRAP laws, and would be yet another regulatory obstacle for Virginia abortion providers to overcome in order to stay open” is not political. It was galling for them to state that. Seriously, what’s more hypocritical than a politician saying that he’s not motivated by politics? Is that akin to him saying that he’s not motivated by his ego?

A few members tried to push the decision to a future meeting after the staff would clarify vague points in the ordinance, which a few council members conceded were evident in the ordinance. But one council member, Jeffrey C. Greenfield, pushed the mayor to get the council to vote on the ordinance tonight. That was certainly politically-motivated: Members, get your little pro-choice or pro-life booklet stamped!

And they did. Four ayes. Two nays. Would it be shocking to learn that the one woman on the council voted nay?

It wasn’t enough for the council to restrict women’s rights in concert with Texas, and North Carolina, and Wisconsin, and Ohio, and Kansas, and Alabama, and South Dakota, no, we also had to get a ManLecture from Mayor R. Scott Silverthorne. He noted (warming us up?) that he is probably the most liberal mayor in Fairfax City in over 50 years (does that really say anything?). But that warm and fuzzy feeling he was going for froze when he had the nerve to call out, in his little Napoleon speech, that he was angry at NARAL for coming into his territory from outside to upset his meeting, which, after all, was simply about zoning. Is that next? Only people with the correct zip code can enter a supposedly public meeting? Or maybe, only the people that live on the right side of the tracks? Does he lecture other groups about wanting their members present to state their case and support their cause? Can he really think that he has the right, hmmm, as a public servant to limit free speech?

To me, his statement is in line with everything that’s been happening in the last few months that limit a woman’s rights to her own body and her own decision-making. As usual, a man knows best. I thought that we were done with all of this patronizing stuff now that we can lean in and almost have it all. 



I've been hearing about these zoning ordinances in various places. I can't help but shake my head at the ignorance. When women start dying from illegal abortions, will people care? Thank you for going and trying to make a difference.

The mayor is an ignorant fool.

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