Last chance to stand up against McDonnell’s abortion coverage ban before April 3 vote

StopAbortionBanSmallNow is the time to tell the General Assembly: coverage for abortion is a basic part of comprehensive reproductive health care, and Governor McDonnell shouldn’t get to block even more Virginians from access to this coverage to suit his anti-choice agenda.

On Wednesday, April 3, 2013, the Virginia General Assembly will reconvene to vote on all of Governor Bob McDonnell’s vetos and amendments for this session — including his amendments to prohibit any plan being sold in the new health benefits exchange from including coverage for abortion care. The vote could come down to just one or two votes in the state Senate, which means your lawmakers need to hear from you today against this insidious attack on health care and abortion access for tens of thousands of Virginians.

Send an email to your Senator through our website here or find their contact information here to call or email their office directly.

The new health benefits exchanges, created under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), are designed to be a marketplace where consumers and small businesses can compare private insurance plans and purchase one that works for them.  The aim is to give people who are uninsured or under-insured now a straightforward way to find and access affordable, comprehensive insurance plans.  That’s why it’s so egregious that the governor is undermining this goal by seeking to ban Virginians participating in the exchange from buying truly comprehensive plans that are currently available on the private market.

Coverage for abortion care is an essential part of comprehensive health insurance. Just like coverage for birth control, prenatal care, and maternity care, insurance coverage for abortion gives a woman the ability to make the reproductive decisions that are best for her health, her life, and her family. Insurance companies recognize that — it’s why the majority of private insurance plans in the U.S. market today include abortion coverage. Paying for abortion care out-of-pocket can be prohibitively expensive for many families. This is especially true of more complicated procedures, such as when a woman’s health is at risk or later in pregnancy when the fetus has been diagnosed with severe anomalies — both situations in which McDonnell’s amendment would prohibit Virginians from having coverage through their insurance!

Gov. McDonnell and his anti-choice allies are trying to downplay this amendment. They’re falsely claiming that it’s just about preserving their anti-choice status quo of prohibiting public money from paying for abortion care. In reality, this amendment would go beyond the current standard and affect even Virginians who are using their own funds to pay for the premiums on private health insurance.

The fact is that people who use government subsidies to purchase health insurance through the exchange — just like state employees and Virginians on Medicaid — will unfortunately already be prohibited from having their insurance cover abortion under the federal Affordable Care Act law.  But not all states have not extended this abortion coverage ban to people who will be purchasing health insurance with their own funds through the exchange, as Governor McDonnell wants to do. For instance, just last month Minnesota passed its health exchange legislation without such a ban.

That’s why it’s especially important that your lawmakers hear the facts about what the governor’s abortion coverage amendment would do. They need to know that their constituents like you believe all Virginians deserve the ability to purchase affordable comprehensive health insurance that includes abortion coverage.

by Caroline O’Shea, Deputy Director

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has its facts wrong. Get the truth!

By Alena Yarmosky, Advocacy and Communications Manager

This is outrageous.

On Friday morning, the Richmond Times Dispatch published an unbelievable and stunningly inaccurate editorial on Governor McDonnell’s recently introduced abortion ban amendment. The editorial recycled Governor McDonnell’s false claims of “taxpayer funded abortion” and completely misrepresented the truth of the matter, all while ignoring the broad and unprecedented impact this ban will have on the health of thousands of Virginia’s women and families. Because it is obvious that that the RTD has been reading anti-choice talking points (and missing the facts), we’re here to set the record straight.

Their take: “[NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia]  says McDonnell’s amendment would block women from purchasing comprehensive health care ‘with their own private dollars. Not so.”

Our take: Um… yes so. If Governor McDonnell’s amendment is enacted, it will prevent thousands of Virginian women from purchasing abortion coverage with their own money.  Here’s how it works:

Virginia law and the Affordable Care Act already ban state-funded coverage for abortion, except in rare & life-threatening instances.

  1. Virginia law already prohibits state- funded health insurance coverage for elective abortions except in cases of rape/incest, fetal abnormality, or when a woman’s life is in jeopardy.
  2. The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, does not require any state (including Virginia) to change its current bans on abortion coverage for women who participate in the exchange.
  3. Even if Virginia didn’t already have these bans, the ACA explicitly prohibits any federal funds from being used to pay for abortion coverage in exchanges – with limited exceptions for cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. To recap, that’s two concrete bans on public funding for abortion: one in Virginia law, and one explicitly outlined under the Affordable Care Act. No public money can or will be used to fund abortions within the new exchanges – period.

Government subsidies (which some Virginians will use to pay for health care through the ACA exchange) are already restricted from paying for abortion (except in the above – rare – instances). 

  1. The ACA requires insurers to keep private dollars completely separate form all federal funds, including federal subsidies. So, imagine that a Virginia woman is receiving government subsidies to help pay for healthcare through the Virginia exchange. If she decides to purchase coverage for abortion care (currently offered in the vast majority of plans), insurers are strictly prohibited from using government subsidies to do so.
  2. What’s more, the private funding used pay for abortion coverage must be kept strictly separate from all government funding. It’s 100% clear: No government money (including government subsidies) can go towards abortion coverage.

Gov. McDonnell’s amendment would ban all insurance companies – even separate policy riders – from providing plans that cover abortion. But we already know that state-funded healthcare cannot cover abortion, and no taxpayer money can go towards abortion coverage within the ACA exchange. What then, does Gov. McDonnell’s amendment actually do? That’s right…block women from purchasing comprehensive health care with private dollars.

It’s obvious, RTD:  This amendment is not about taxpayer funding for abortion.  Current law is clear, and  sadly public funding of abortion care is already forbidden, except in very narrow circumstances. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia believes abortion is basic health care and deserves coverage—both public and private.  But let’s be clear, public funding for abortion is not the issue here!  Instead, this amendment goes far beyond existing law, and imposes unprecedented limitations on private insurance coverage in our state that will block women in our state from getting care they need.

That’s why we’re fighting back. And with all of the myths and misrepresentations flying around, it’s extra important that your Senator understands exactly what Governor McDonnell’s abortion ban does – and what it means for the women of Virginia. Contact your Senator right now and tell him/her to reject McDonnell’s anti-choice amendment!

Together, we’ll set the record straight.

Governor McDonnell moves to ban insurance coverage for abortion in Virginia (Take Action Now!)

by Caroline O’Shea, deputy directorNo Better Health Care for You, Virginia Women

If you’d hoped that Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell might be slowing down on his anti-choice agenda in his final year in office — and after all the outrage we’ve seen over attacks he has pushed like the mandatory ultrasound law and targeted regulations on abortion providers — think again.

As we anticipated following reports last month, Governor McDonnell waited until the last possible minute in this year’s legislative calendar to push yet another of his attacks on reproductive rights and health care. Late last night, he introduced amendments on Virginia’s health benefits exchange implementation bills that will ban any insurance plan being sold through the new exchange from including coverage for abortion care. It’s another in a long line of anti-choice policies designed to block women from accessing affordable safe abortion care and to undermine the promise of improved comprehensive health care coverage for millions of Americans under the Affordable Care Act.

Contact your state Senator now and urge them to oppose Governor McDonnell’s abortion coverage ban.

If the General Assembly approves these amendments to HB1900/SB921 (see the amendment text here), Gov. McDonnell’s abortion coverage ban would block the thousands of Virginians who will be purchasing insurance plans through the exchange from choosing to buy private plans that include abortion coverage — a basic benefit currently included in the vast majority of private insurance plans in the U.S. market. It will even prohibit them from buying a separate policy rider to cover abortion! Continue reading

Governor McDonnell’s Behind-the-Scenes Abortion Ban

Last year, Governor McDonnell faced statewide and national outrage (not to mention ridicule and mockery from the unforgiving world of late-night television) after pushing egregious legislative attacks on the women of Virginia. You would think that after the barrage of media scrutiny and an outpouring of fury from Virginian women, McDonnell might have learned some sort of lesson. Maybe, just maybe, we thought, he would start to trust women to make our own decisions about our bodies, our health, and our lives. Apparently not.

According to the Virginian Pilot, Governor McDonnell is quietly planning a last-minute maneuver to severely restrict Virginian women’s access to health care. How? By attaching anti-choice amendments to H.B.1900 and S.B.921, legislation to implement the Virginia health insurance exchange as set out under the Affordable Care Act.

As part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) all states must construct and/or participate in a health insurance exchange.  This exchange is intended to function as a virtual marketplace, where small businesses and individuals will be able to shop for appropriate and affordable health care. Like all other states, Virginia was given the option to create our own exchange or operate under the federally-run program. Governor McDonnell chose the federal option – with a few exceptions.

According to a letter sent from McDonnell to DC officials yesterday, Virginia will participate in the federal exchange, BUT will maintain decision-making authority over which health care plans are able to participate. As he explains, Virginia state government will continue to have oversight of “whether a health plan or issuer meets particular certification standards”. And his first rule? You guessed it…no coverage for women’s health.

If enacted, McDonnell’s planned amendment would prohibit insurance providers from offering policies in the exchange that cover abortion – coverage that currently exists in almost 90% of plans sold in the private market. In other words, McDonnell’s amendment would make it difficult to impossible for small businesses and individual Virginian women to purchase abortion coverage with private dollars. Instead of improved access to health care (as intended by the Affordable Care Act) many women would see their coverage slashed.

Let’s be clear – this amendment has nothing to do with eliminating public funding for abortion. Obama’s Affordable Care Act already has strict provisions to ensure that no public funds are spent on abortion, and Virginia law already prohibits public funding for abortion except in rare and life-threatening cases. Instead, Governor McDonnell’s amendment would restrict Virginians from purchasing a comprehensive insurance policy with their own private dollars. This is not a matter of government funding, but rather a question of private money – and how the women of Virginia can spend it.

my body my money my choice

We here at NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia believe firmly that a woman who decides to have an abortion has the same rights as any other patient seeking any other outpatient procedure. Like every other Virginian, she deserves equal access to the health care she needs.

Furthermore, we know that banning insurance coverage does not reduce the need for abortions; it only creates dangerous outcomes for Virginia women, some of whom may be facing complex and risky pregnancies. While no woman plans on having an abortion,  it is important that she can count on her insurance to cover a full range of health care options. Every Virginian -  every woman -  deserves the ability to make his or her own private medical decisions without interference from the government.

That’s why we are calling on the women of Virginia (and the men who love them) to flood Governor McDonnell’s office with emails and phone calls in opposition to this dangerous amendment. It’s easy to take a stand – simply click here, personalize your message to Governor McDonnell, and enter your name in the box. Then tell your friends, your family members, and your social media contacts (we know you’ve got them) to do the same!

Although this amendment is a clear and outrageous attack on women’s health, Governor McDonnell knows that most Virginians don’t pay attention to every bill that goes through the General Assembly – let alone every amendment. He is counting on this lack of knowledge, which is exactly why we need to expose how dangerous, underhanded, and restrictive this amendment is. Please join NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia in taking action now. Together, we will tell Governor McDonnell: Our body, our money, our choice!

Virginia Women Trapped by Board of Health Decision

Hi Everyone:

My name is Alena Yarmosky and I am the new Advocacy & Communications Manager with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.  I joined the NARAL VA team two weeks ago, and have loved getting to know all of our amazing volunteers and supporters. I look forward to working with you all in the coming weeks and months!

Unfortunately, it has been a tough few days for us here at NARAL Pro-Choice VA, and for women all over the state. At the Virginia Board of Health meeting last Friday (September 14) the Board of Health voted to subject existing women’s health centers to burdensome and medically-unnecessary TRAP regulations.

These proposed construction requirements (now approved by the Board) have nothing to do with protecting women’s health and safety, and are instead designed to force health centers across the state to close. Renovations to meet TRAP regulations could cost millions of dollars, and are simply not an option for many of Virginia’s health centers. If signed into law, TRAP regulations could force over 15 clinics to shut their doors, and keep thousands of Virginia women from accessing essential medical care.

We have activist Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to blame. Cuccinelli has done everything in his power (and many things beyond his legal and constitutional authority) to bully the Board into reversing its June decision and imposing restrictive TRAP regulations. Five Board of Health members caved to his pressure tactics and switched their votes, with a total of 13 out of  15 members voting to put Cuccienlli’s political agenda before medical fact (Jim Edmonson and Dr. Anna Jeng were the only two who stood strong).

Even worse, Friday’s Board meeting was a blatant denial of public comment and the democratic process. Time for public input was slashed in half, and hundreds of pro-choice activists and experts were shut out of the building despite repeated requests to move the meeting to a location that could accommodate all participants.

Unfortunately we can’t be too surprised by the Board’s vote, or by this administration’s blatant disregard for women’s health and rights. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Governor Bob McDonnell have spent their careers putting an anti-choice political agenda before health, safety, and Virginia law. AG Cuccinelli has publicly stated that his goal is to end abortion in Virginia, and his brazen actions over the last three months have shown us just how serious he is.

We may have lost the battle, but the fight for women’s health is just beginning.

In the coming months, we will continue to fight TRAP before it becomes law. But as the state legislative session draws nearer, Virgina women will again find themselves the target of anti-choice legislators determined to play doctor and erode critical access to reproductive health care.

We will face “personhood”, a bill that could outlaw birth control, common fertility treatments, and abortion  – even in cases of rape or incest. We will face attempts to end abortion after 20 weeks, attempts to ban insurance companies from covering reproductive services, and continued attempts to close clinics through endless bureaucratic hoops and bounds of red tape.

We have to fight back! As Advocacy & Communications Manager here at NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, fighting for women’s health (through phone banking, canvassing, voter drives and more) is a large part of my job. But we need you to stand with us.

Please email me to sign up to volunteer, or if you’re interested in learning more about NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s plans for the fall. I look forward to working with you all, and continuing our fight for women’s health.

Stop Attorney Gen. Cuccinelli & Urge the Board of Health: Put Medicine Before Politics!

Just when we thought sanity might have returned to Virginia’s government… Govenor McDonnell & Attorney General Cuccinelli are at it again.

Earlier this summer, the Virginia Board of Health voted to amend a key provision of proposed TRAP regulations (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) to exempt existing women’s health centers from burdensome and politically-motivated construction requirements. The amended TRAP regulations (while still posing a serious threat to the privacy and security of patients and providers) were a huge victory for Virginia women.  By amending proposed TRAP regulations to “grandfather in” existing clinics, it is estimated that the Board saved more than twenty women’s health centers across the state from being forced to close their doors.

The Board’s vote was legally sound, constitutional, and medically correct.  But on July 16, Attorney General Cuccinelli announced that he would refuse to certify the amended regulations. His reasoning? According to a letter sent from Cuccinelli to Dr. Karen Remley, commissioner of the Virginia Dept. of Health, in voting to amend TRAP regulations, the Board had “exceeded its authority.”

Reason (and law) show that the Board acted precisely within its authority: Virginia law directs the Board to enact regulations “consistent with the current edition of the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospital and Health Care Facilities.” The June 15 decision to amend TRAP (and exempt existing health centers from costly construction requirements) is absolutely “consistent with” the guidelines as written.

Let’s call like it is – Attorney General Cuccinelli rejected the Board’s decision not for any medical or legal reason, but simply because it flew in the face of his anti-choice political agenda. In voting to exempt existing health centers from TRAP regulations, the Board of Health protected access to reproductive health services (including safe abortion) for thousands of women across the Commonwealth. Apparently you can have the constitution, law, and medical community on your side, but dare to protect women’s access to health care? You’re overruled.

Since then, AG Cuccinelli has pulled out every trick in the book to essentially veto the Board’s vote – even though such an action is unconstitutional and blatantly in violation of Virginia law. Now, after months of pressuring the Board to reverse their decision, Cuccinelli is forcing them to meet again and reconsider the proposed TRAP regulations. This time, he hopes to bully the Board of Health into toeing his political line – and putting women’s reproductive health-care back in the line of fire.

We need your help to urge the Board of Health to stand strong against the Attorney General’s bullying! Together, we must take action to stop this administration’s anti-choice agenda before it threatens the health of thousands of Virginia women.

Ways to help:

Looking for more up-to-the-minute information and more ways to get involved? Follow the Va Coalition on Twitter!

Forced Ultrasounds In Effect In Virginia

Guest Post by Legal Intern Chris Lewis:

The controversial, unnecessary, and intrusive mandatory ultrasound law is now in effect in the Commonwealth.    Starting this week, any Virginian seeking to exercise her constitutional right to get an abortion must first get an ultrasound, regardless of the medical advice of her doctor.  The law, which was passed over the objections of thousands of Virginians, was signed by anti-choice Governor Bob McDonnell, and enthusiastically endorsed by his sidekick and likely 2013 GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli.

The law requires that:

  • A woman must undergo a compulsory ultrasound before having an abortion, whether or not her doctor says its necessary or she asks for it.
  • Her doctor must offer her the opportunity to view the image and listen for fetal heart tones – but telling the doctor “no thanks” isn’t a good enough a response. She must sign a refusal form that will then be saved in her medical record for seven years.
  • The ultrasound must be performed at least 24 hours prior to the abortion unless the woman lives 100 miles or more away from her provider. If she lives 99 miles or less away, that means at least two and more likely three appointments on separate days, requiring additional expenses such as taking time off work and paying for additional gas and child care.
  • Can’t afford an ultrasound or your insurance won’t cover it? Anti-choice policymakers will provide you with a list of crisis pregnancy centers – aka fake anti-choice clinics – that will provide you with a free one… while they use misinformation try to pressure you to not have an abortion.

These “crisis pregnancy centers” are especially troublesome.  The Virginia Department of Health provides a list of “no-cost ultrasound services”, but each of the organizations listed is an anti-choice clinic with the primary purpose of discouraging abortion—not providing care for women.  To make matters worse, these clinics needed to only answer six questions to be listed in the government directory, and only two of those questions have anything to do with ensuring that the person performing the ultrasound is in any way competent enough to do so in a safe matter.  In addition, no part of the law requires that the anti-choice clinics give the woman a copy of the ultrasound should she decide to get an abortion from a legitimate clinic.  She may have to start the entire process again!

Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli have exhibited a shocking amount of hypocrisy on this issue.  They claim the onerous TRAP regulations are intended only to ensure the safety of women and the quality of medical care, but have said nothing about making sure the crisis pregnancy centers meet these standards.

After last week’s Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (a law that will bring health care access to thousands of low-income Virginians), McDonnell called the decision a “blow to freedom”.  Yet he and the other anti-choice politicians in the Commonwealth take no issue with putting unnecessary government mandates in between a woman and her doctor.

The ultrasound mandate will impact every woman in Virginia, but the burden will fall especially hard on the at-risk and marginalized communities in the state, including young women, low-income women who are uninsured or under-insured, rural women whose closest provider is far away, and working women with children.  There is no doubt that these women will have to bear significant new costs in order to get an abortion, a right that has been repeatedly asserted by the United State Supreme Court.

Anti-choice politicians need to know that their opinion is not shared by a majority of Virginians.  Please sign our petition and demand that the General Assembly repeal this intrusive law.  And be sure to sign up with our Choice Action Network (CAN) to stay informed about further assaults on reproductive freedom in Virginia.

Stop McDonnell & Cuccinelli’s TRAP scheme

Cross-posted from NARAL Pro-Choice America’s BlogforChoice.com.

by Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia

Sanity seems to have left the commonwealth of Virginia.

Earlier this year, the country watched with shock and awe as Virginia passed a mandatory ultrasound bill that forces a woman to undergo an ultrasound procedure before receiving an abortion – even if she does not want an ultrasound and even if her doctor thinks it is unnecessary. Now, the Old Dominion – Thomas Jefferson’s commonwealth – is again poised to humiliate women and doctors by shutting off access to safe, legal abortion.

Since the McDonnell Administration and an activist attorney general came into power two and half years ago, the policy making process has been wrought with duplicitous backroom deals and contrived regulations in an effort to ban abortion… and even birth control. So far, they’ve gotten away with it.

This Friday, the Virginia Board of Health will again meet to consider proposed permanent regulations for women’s health centers – what we call “TRAP,” targeted regulations on abortion providers. But don’t be fooled. These proposed regulations have nothing to do with patient care or safety despite what McDonnell and Cuccinelli may purport. They want to force doctors’ offices that provide first trimester abortion – and have been doing so safely for nearly 40 years – to now convert themselves overnight into mini-hospitals, which you may agree is nearly impossible to do! The Board of Health literally is imposing new 2010 hospital construction guidelines on doctors’ offices that have been open and operating for four decades! What this means is that women’s health centers must spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars adding additional toilets, expanding the size of their doors and hallways, increasing treatment rooms to the size of your car garage, making sure there are as many parking spaces as there are beds (even though there are no overnight stays), and expensive, very specific ventilation systems. All this for one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States today, which generally takes fewer than 10 minutes to complete.

Simply put – if regulations are passed as written with these forced building construction requirements, the majority of the state’s abortion providers may be forced to close putting women’s health and safety at risk.

What does this mean for women? Under the proposed permanent regulations, the 20 women’s health centers that provide safe, affordable early abortion care in Virginia will be forced by the government to comply with overly burdensome, medically unnecessary regulations to just keep their doors open – costs that could be so high that health centers are forced to close their doors entirely. This has a detrimental impact on women’s access to affordable healthcare, especially for young, low-income, uninsured or underinsured, rural and minority women who count on women’s health centers around the state for their primary care. If even one health center closes, that could mean higher costs for women who already struggle to access and pay for healthcare.

We need to bring sanity back to the commonwealth of Virginia and end attacks on women’s health and privacy. Without public action or legislative oversight, Gov. McDonnell and AG Cuccinell will have a free pass to implement the most aggressive laws in the country to impede access to women’s health care and abortion. This overreach of power is unconscionable! But it’s not too late.

The regulations are before the Virginia Board of Health this Friday June 15. If approved through the next stages of the regulatory process, these regulations will become law in early 2013. Please ask each of the 15 BOH members to use their medical expertise – not politics- to make the logical decision to stop this insane attempt to impose politically motivated regulations onto abortion providers. The women of Virginia are counting on them.

What I Have Learned Today

Guest Post By Tara Casey

Early this morning, I learned that Governor McDonnell had ordered a SWAT Team to cover a Candlelight Vigil I attended the night before at the Governor’s Mansion. Riot police were hiding in the bushes, while my two small children and I sang, “This Little Light of Mine.”

In the mid-morning, I learned that compassion and logic do not have to be mutually exclusive, when a Virginia Senate Finance Committee quashed a House bill that would have cut funding to low-income women seeking abortions when a physician had certified a gross abnormality and malformity in their pregnancy.

In the afternoon, however, I learned that, as a woman, I do not have the capacity to make an informed decision without my physician performing what is deemed to be an unnecessary medical procedure.

I learned that 21 Virginia Senators are better equipped and trained to prescribe medical procedures than treating physicians. I also learned that 21 Virginia Senators can mandate a medical procedure on a woman even when the medical community deems the procedure medically unnecessary.

I learned that 21 Virginia Senators may have the compassion to exempt victims of the historically underreported crimes rape or incest from this legislation, but they are without any true logic by requiring these victims to have reported the crime to the police to qualify for the exemption.

I learned that 21 Virginia Senators can mandate a medical procedure on a woman but refuse to require an insurance company to cover the procedure. I also learned that 21 Virginia Senators can mandate a medical procedure but refuse to pay for the procedure if a woman cannot afford it.

I learned that 21 Virginia Senators can mandate a medical procedure even when the procedure itself does not provide the information sought for “informed consent.”

I learned that the flip phrases “jelly on the belly” and “abortion is a matter of lifestyle convenience,” which I personally heard in the halls of my state legislature, translate to actual votes and platform positions of disengaged legislators.

I learned that the prophetic phrase of Orwellian logic, “Ignorance is Strength,” came true in Virginia – not in 1984, but in 2012.

“Personhood” and Mandatory Ultrasound: What would they mean for Virginia women’s rights and freedom?

On the last days before bills crossover between the House and the Senate for this Virginia General Assembly session, one would think the legislators of each chamber might be be debating bills about the most pressing issues our Commonwealth faces — how to help Virginians and create jobs during the economic recession, how to cut crime in the Commonwealth, how to advance the education of our state’s young people.  But instead, the newly emboldened anti-choice majority in the House of Delegates  spent time pushing two extreme anti-choice measures and advancing them to the state Senate: the highly unpopular measure of granting “personhood” status and rights to fertilized eggs (H.B. 1), and a bill forcing a woman to undergo an ultrasound — even an invasive vaginal probe ultrasound — before an abortion, regardless of whether its medically-necessary or whether a woman wants it  (H.B. 462).

What are these two bills and what would they mean for Virginia women if the state Senate and Governor McDonnell were to approve them? Learn more:

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