Despite heroic efforts from pro-choice Delegates, dangerous budget amendments advance in House

Yesterday, the Virginia House of Delegate voted to approve three separate budget amendments attacking women’s health. 

Despite passionate speeches against these extreme measures from our pro-choice champions, a majority of Delegates voted to include amendments in the final house budget to defund Planned Parenthood and strip funding for low-income women who seek abortion when the fetus has been diagnosed with an incapacitating anomaly. The House even voted to approve a laughable amendment from Delegate Bob Marshall to prevent Gov. McAuliffe from using executive action to repeal TRAP regulations – something the law doesn’t allow him to do anyway!

Rational or not, it’s obvious that these anti-choice Delegates will stop at nothing to attack women’s health and rights. But even as we’re gearing up for the next fight, it’s important to honor some of our amazing pro-choice legislators who fought so hard against these dangerous measures. Click on the names below to thank our pro-choice champions on their facebook pages! 

First to fight back on the floor yesterday was Delegate Charniele Herring, who spoke against the budget amendment to defund Planned Parenthood in Virginia. As she explained, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Virginia provide thousands of women with critical medical care, including cancer screenings, birth control, and safe, legal abortion. “Attacking access to healthcare for women is unconscionable,” Del. Herring said after the vote.  “In the Republican quest to defund Planned Parenthood, they are trying to eliminate programs like cancer screenings by attacking this health care provider. Federal Courts have agreed that defunding qualified health care providers from providing services under Medicaid because they separately provide abortion services violates federal law.”

Next up was Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, who stood to oppose a laughable amendment from Delegate Bob Marshall to prevent Gov. McAuliffe from using executive action to repeal burdensome clinic regulations (TRAP). Although Governor McAuliffe has no power to repeal TRAP with executive action anyway (so this amendment is essentially nonsense), Delegate Filler-Corn took the opportunity to speak about the importance of women’s health clinics in the state – many of whom are severely threatened by dangerous TRAP regulations. “This amendment is yet another targeted attack on women’s healthcare,” she stated. “Because of the onerous and medically unnecessary TRAP restrictions approved by our body in 2011, thousands of women in the Commonwealth have seen their only option for high-quality, low-cost access to life-saving screenings and health care advice in their community close.”

Last but not least, Delegate Jennifer McClellan took to the floor yesterday to share the heart-wrenching story of a Virginia woman whose pregnancy went tragically wrong when the fetus was diagnosed with incapacitating health complications. When this woman and her husband made the difficult, personal decision to seek abortion, they were lucky enough to be able to afford it.  But as Delegate McClellan pointed out,  budget amendment 4-5.04 #6h would strip funding for abortion for low-income women facing similar tragic situations – and  leave poor women with virtually zero options. “What this amendment does is say that if you are in this tragic situation and you have private insurance, or you have money, you can do what needs to be done,” she said.  “If you are poor – if you are poor – you’re on your own. Ladies and gentleman this is one of the cruelest budget amendments I have ever seen.” 

After the vote yesterday,  pro-choice champion Senator Donald McEachin added this: “I am incredibly disappointed and dismayed that House Republicans voted to defund cancer screenings and preventative care for women across the Commonwealth. You can be sure that the fight to protect women’s health and health care for all Virginians is not over.”

We agree — this fight is far from over. We will be in touch soon with ways to take action against these dangerous amendments, but in the meantime please contact these pro-choice legislators & thank them for their tireless work! To stay updated on these budget amendments as they advance,  sign up for email alerts,  like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter! You can even receive breaking news to your cell phone by texting VACHOICE to 30644!

Pro-Choice Candidate Profile: Jennifer Boysko, District 86

By Marieke van Rijn, Advocacy & Communications Intern

 Jennifer Boysko is running against incumbent Tom Rust to represent Fairfax and Loudoun County District 86 in the Virginia House of Delegates. As a strong pro-choice candidate, Boysko is an avid supporter of Roe v. Wade and believes that access to contraception and a safe and legal abortion should be “a settled issue”.

Boysko has actively worked with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and Planned Parenthood at a grassroots level for nearly three decades, and has been recognized as one of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s 100% pro-choice candidates. As executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Tarina Keene stated, “As a woman, dedicated public servant, and proud mother of two daughters, Boysko understands the critical importance of a government that respects and protects Virginians access to health care and fundamental rights”.

Now more than ever, Virginia needs representatives who will step up to protect women’s right to choose. Boysko’s frank and consistent support for women’s choice proves that she is a candidate who is willing to stand up and protect women’s choice in Richmond, and we are thrilled to support her candidacy.  Check out her website for more information and to help her win on November 5th!!

Is Your Legislator Pro-Choice? Check out our 2013 Scorecard!

By Caitlin Bancroft, Legal Intern

When it comes to protecting access to comprehensive reproductive health care, do you know where your state legislator stands?

During the 2012 General Assembly session, Virginia’s legislature shocked the nation with a series of appalling and unapologetic attacks on women’s rights. In the year since, pro-choice advocates and legislators have fought back with gusto. Our amazing pro-choice champions in the House and Senate introduced a total of eleven new pro-choice bills intended to repair some of the damage caused by the 2012 session. Among these 2013 bills was a roll-back of TRAP legislation, removal the mandatory ultrasound law and an attempt to insulate birth control access from further legislative outreach.  Our pro-choice legislators really went to bat for us this year, and we are so grateful for their efforts! Unfortunately, despite the courageous efforts of our allies in the General Assembly, virtually all pro-choice bills were defeated in committee by Virginia’s anti-choice majority. Fortunately there was one bright spot of the session, when House Bill 1876, a pro-choice measure to eliminate the waiting period before voluntary sterilization, was passed by an overwhelming majority.

With critical statewide elections for the coming up this fall, Virginia’s the conservative anti-choice legislators tried to publicly lay off women’s health in the hopes of avoiding the intense media scrutiny that their antics garnered in 2012. Nonetheless they were unable to temper their radicalism. In total, there were five anti-choice bills introduced during the session, which included attempts to limit contraception coverage, institute criminal penalties for sex-selective abortions, and repeal abortion funding for low-income women in cases when the fetus has an incapacitating physical or mental anomaly. Though fewer in number, the bills showed a disturbing trend toward overt attacks on the access of low income women, who already have a harder time accessing healthcare. Fortunately, all of these bills were killed in committee. But just when it seemed we were to escape the season unscathed, the veto session changed everything.  In a heart-breaking vote of 20-19, the Virginia Senate approved an amendment that prohibits any insurance plan sold within the Virginia health benefits exchange from covering abortion care.

The amendment was a ruthless and illogical attack on the autonomy of Virginian women. Under the guise of prohibiting “tax-payer funded abortion,” the senate prohibited them from spending their own money on abortion coverage – a standard benefit in the majority of healthcare plans. The result is that Virginia women must find insurance outside of the exchange and pay much more from comprehensive healthcare coverage. Unfortunately, for the women in Virginia who don’t have the financial resources to shop outside of the exchange, the senate refused to even permit women to buy an abortion coverage rider directly from the insurance company. Despite passing no anti-choice laws in the main session, the season ended on a sour note with the passage of the amendment to HB 1900 and the enactment of the 2011 TRAP laws.

Here’s the good news: this year is an election year and we know that ELECTIONS MATTER! That’s why we’re so excited to present out 2012 – 2013 Voting Record on Choice, your guide to Virginia lawmakers’ votes on reproductive rights over the past two years. Is it so important that every pro-choice Virginian understand all that happened over the past two legislative sessions on women’s health particularly since many of our most extreme anti-choice politicians are up for election. We have watched time and again as these anti-choice politicians have embodied everything that is wrong with politics by abusing their power and advancing an ideological agenda to strip other people’s rights. It’s time for Virginia to hold our legislators accountable and elect legislators who actually represent Virginia’s pro-choice majority!

Read our 2012-2013 scorecard, then contact your legislator and let them know how you feel about their votes on women’s health!

Now and in the lead up to November, it is paramount that we reverse this trend of intrusive laws that govern our right to choose – before it gets worse. Virginia’s anti-choice politicians have shown that they will use every opportunity to pass extreme and unconscionable laws, so we need to make sure we never give them another opportunity.

We know that the majority of Virginians are pro-choice and it’s about time our legislators knew it too. Read our scorecard and contact your legislator now!

Outrageous: Virginia Board of Health approves dangerous TRAP regs

By Sandra Sanchez, Advocacy and Communications Intern

In an 11 to 2 vote last Friday, the Virginia Board of Health bowed to pressure from Attorney General Cuccinelli and  approved targeted regulations on abortion providers (TRAP), burdensome regulations on women’s health centers which threaten to close the majority of Virginia abortion providers as early as 2014. After two years of fighting against these unnecessary and onerous regulations, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and our colleagues across the Commonwealth are outraged at the result of Friday’s meeting. Because of the Board’s decision to put politics over safe, legal, and accessible health care,  there will be devastating consequences for the women of Virginia.

virginia-trapHow did we get to this point? As many of you know, we have been fighting these dangerous regulations for more than two years. But even before TRAP was introduced, the idea of targeted regulations on abortion providers has been in Virginia politics for quite some time. Ken Cuccinelli, previous state senator and current Attorney General infamous for constructing & bullying these regulations into law, pioneered the idea of TRAP in 2003. During his time in the General Assembly Cuccinelli introduced TRAP legislation no fewer than four times –  in 2003, 2004, 2005, 444and 2006. After numerous failures, Cuccinelli was openly proud of the passage of TRAP in 2011, stating that “Today, a long, hard-fought battle for women’s health and dignity has finally been won in the State Senate”, and praising the bill as an “Abortion Clinic Safety Bill”. Of course, you and I know that TRAP regulations have absolutely nothing to do with women’s health and safety.  Considering his track record, I don’t trust that Cuccinelli has ever cared about the battle for women’s rights, much less the safety and dignity of the women of Virginia.

After passage of TRAP legislation, the saga continued. During the summer of 2012, the Virginia Board of Health decided to grandfather-in existing clinics from these burdensome regulations, essentially saving them from having to comply with unnecessary and expensive architectural requirements. This move was well within the Board’s authority and was supported by scientific-based evidence as well as decades of precedent: never before have building regulations been forced on existing facilities – particularly regulations that have nothing to do with patient care and are not required of any other outpatient clinic (or even hospital) in the Commonwealth. But of course, AG Cuccinelli was not having that.  Instead of following the advice of Virginia’s doctors, lawyers, and medical experts, he decided to bully and threaten the Board into changing their minds. Unfortunately, it worked. In September the Board caved to pressure and reversed it’s earlier decision by voting to approve politically-motivated TRAP regulations for existing women’s health centers in Virginia.

Since then, the regulations have gone through an executive review process, and — as expected – have been signed by Attorney General Cuccinelli and Governor McDonnell. TRAP regulations also underwent a 60-day untitled3public comment period, where they faced overwhelming opposition from the people of Virginia. Almost 200 Virginia doctors publicly denounced the regulations, including Dr. James “Jef” Ferguson of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, former state health commissioner Dr. Karen Remley, and an additional six Virginia state health officials who represent over 30 years of public health leadership in the commonwealth. And of the nearly 6,000 comments submitted during the public comment period, a vast majority (81%) opposed the regulations. It didn’t matter.

Despite everything, the Board voted on Friday to approve TRAP and subject  women’s health centers to unprecedented and politically-motivated regulations. Because of their vote, the majority  of Virginia’s abortion providers could close as early as next year.

If you’re like me, you’re devastated. The consequences of these regulations are terrifying, and to be frank, make me enraged. Due to TRAP, thousands of Virginia women will lose access to safe and legal abortion care, as well as a wide range of other critical reproductive health services. They’ll be forced to drive dozens of miles to find the essential medical care they need, and may even have to go out of state to access their constitutional right to an  abortion. Let’s be clear: These regulations were designed implemented, and enforced with one purpose and one purpose only — to close Virginia clinics and restrict access to critical women’s health care.  And if you’ve been following the events of the past two years, you know that Virginia has already mandated a forced–ultrasound requirement as well as a restrictive and unnecessary 24-hour waiting period. Combine these demeaning restrictions with newly-passed TRAP regulations,  and you’re left with a dire climate of women’s health restrictions.

It saddens me that the Board of Health decided to put politics over women’s health and vote to close our clinics. It saddens me that even after over 200 doctors and thousands of Virginia residents publicly denounced these regulations, the Board of Health looked over its shoulder at Cuccinelli and voted yes.  But what saddens me the most is that Virginia’s brave, exemplary, and compassionate abortion providers will likely begin to close.  Thousands of women across Virginia will lose access to critical health care — and that is the worst of all.

Stop Attorney General Cuccinelli & help us keep our clinics open!

By Alena Yarmosky, Advocacy & Communications Manager

This Friday, the fate of women’s health and safety in Virginia will be decided.

The Virginia Board of Health will meet on Friday April 12th for its final vote on TRAP regulations, politically motivated and burdensome hospital construction requirements that could force the majority of Virginia’s women’s health centers to close as early as next year.

RSVP to join us in Richmond THIS FRIDAY to stand for women’s health!

Last spring, Virginia women won a huge victory when the Board of Health voted to exempt existing abortion providers from these ridiculous and unnecessary construction requirements. But that wasn’t good enough for Attorney General Cuccinelli, who used every trick in the book – including pressure tactics, legal fiction, and outright lies – to bully the Board into changing their minds.

keep our clinics open

Now, the Board of Health is set to make its final decision on the fate of women’s health in the Commonwealth – and it’s critical that you are there to stand with us!

You and I know the truth: from day one AG Cuccinelli has been pulling the strings behind the scenes, and has used his office to corrupt what should be a scientific and evidence based regulatory process. Now, he is even refusing to resign as Attorney General while running for Governor, a tradition 9 of his predecessors have embraced.

Is Cuccinelli staying on as AG just to make sure TRAP regulations pass…and our clinics are forced to close? We wouldn’t be surprised – and it’s absolutely critical that we’re prepared. Please join us on Friday to fight TRAP and take a final stand in the battle for Virginia women’s health.

Feel free to email me with questions or for more information! I hope to see you there!!

2013 Gen. Assembly Review!

The 2013 General Assembly session was fast and furious! Between attacks on birth control, pro-choice repeal bills, and sneaky amendments in the works, you may be confused about what exactly this year’s GA session means for the women of Virginia. But don’t worry – we’re here to break it down.

This year pro-choice champions in the Virginia House and Senate carried a total of 11 pro-choice bills, including legislation to repeal TRAP regulations, protect birth control in the Commonwealth, and strike Virginia’s current mandatory ultrasound requirement. We also faced 5 anti-choice bills, including legislation to restrict insurance coverage for birth control, ban sex-selective abortion, and repeal Medicaid funding for women with severe fetal anomalies.

Unfortunately, despite the valiant efforts of our legislative allies and our amazing pro-choice supporters, almost all pro-choice bills were defeated this session. Virginia’s anti-choice politicians were quick to strike down critical legislation to repeal TRAP regulations and the forced ultrasound law – in one case without even allowing for debate or discussion! Thankfully, we were happy and proud to see the passage of Del. Jennifer McClellan’s bill HB 1876, a pro-choice measure that will eliminate the waiting period before sterilization for Virginia residents who have not yet had children. Currently, childless women and men in Virginia are required to wait 30 days before obtaining an elective sterilization procedure, while those with children are not. This bill makes it easier for every person to decide whether and when to create a family, and we thank Del. McClellan for her great work on this!

VirginiaStateCapitol

We are also relieved to report that despite several legislative attempts to restrict women’s health, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and our allies were able to defeat all anti-choice legislation this session – a huge win considering our overwhelming anti-choice state government!  We could not have done it without you and the hundreds of other pro-choice Virginians who contacted their representatives and demanded an end to Virginia’s War on Women. Thank you for everything you have done!

Unfortunately, while the session may have come to an end, the fight is far from over. As reported in a recent Virginian Pilot article, Governor McDonnell is quietly planning to attach an amendment to health care reform legislation that would severely restrict Virginian women’s ability to access critical health care. Although we were able to defeat all anti-choice bills at the committee level, Governor McDonnell would attach his amendment to a bill that has already cleared both the House and Senate – and would go to a vote by both chambers during the General Assembly’s veto session at the end of March. Get more information McDonnnell’s behind-the-scenes abortion ban – and help us fight back!   

Ultimately, beyond the legislative antics and extreme anti-choice rhetoric (check out this gem from Sen. Dick Black), every General Assembly session reminds us of how lucky we are to work with Virginia’s amazing, passionate, and unstoppable pro-choice activists! This year we stood with you in Richmond to honor 40 years of Roe v. Wade, participated in a super successful Pro-Choice Day of Action, and even took to twitter to fight for increased health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Virginia’s women and families.

We look forward to your support, activism, and enthusiasm as we continue the fight for reproductive rights in the Commonwealth!

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!

Pro-Choice Day of Action

Last Thursday, the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition held our annual statewide Pro-Choice Day of Action!

This year we focused our advocacy efforts on two main issues. First, we advocated in support of  legislative efforts to implement Medicaid extension in the Virginia’s budget, which would ensure that an additional 400,000 Virginians have access to basic health care, including cancer screenings and birth control. Second, we encouraged all pro-choice Virginians to submit a public comment against proposed targeted regulations on abortion providers (also known as TRAP regulations). If approved as written, TRAP regulations would require Virginia’s women’s health centers  to meet medically-unnecessary hospital style standards (not required of any other health care facility in the Commonwealth) and would force the majority of our women’s health centers to close.

JMU Faces 4 Choice

With the help of hundreds of Virginians and reproductive health advocates, we’re happy to report a very successful Day of Action:

  • 245 emails to General Assembly members to support the Medicaid extension
  • 162 activists to support Medicaid extension; 140 whom pledged to contact their Senator
  • At least 35 public comments to oppose TRAP
  • Over 1,700 phone calls to activists on Medicaid extension
  • Over 50 volunteer shifts at 5 different regional phone banks throughout Virginia, including locations in Roanoke, Richmond, Charlottesville, Arlington, and Washington, DC.

In addition, the VA Pro-Choice Coalition also worked with student activists to hold advocacy events on 5 Virginia college campuses, including Virginia Tech, University of Mary Washington, James Madison University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Richmond! Highlights include James Madison University’s “Faces of Choice” campaign (in which our campus intern  Sarah had dozens of her fellow students explain why they are pro-choice and proud), and University of Richmond’s  “I’m Pro-Choice because…” photo campaign & TRAP education. We also have to give a shutout to the University of Mary Washington, where our campus intern Taylor gave out a pyramid of  “Choice Out Loud” swag and worked to engaged her peers on the importance of pro-choice, pro-women policy. We are so proud of our incredible campus representatives and the amazing work they did!!

From tabling, to phone banking, to everything in between – this year’s Day of Action was a huge success! THANK YOU for helping us tell our Representatives in the General Assembly: We are Virginia and we are pro-choice!

im prochoice bc U of R

Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition Tweetchat!

This Thursday,  Feb. 7th, is the Virginia Pro-Choice Day of Action….and we are PUMPED.

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is so excited to join our fellow women’s health advocates and activists in locations across the Commonwealth as we fight for reproductive rights and critical access to health care. With events in Arlington, Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Richmond, Roanoke, and DC, there are a TON of opportunities for you to get involved this Thursday! Check out our registration page for more details, including shift times, locations, and directions. We can’t wait to see you there!

Stuck at work or at home on Thursday? No worries – there are plenty of ways for you to take action online. This year, we are happy to announce our Day of Action Tweetchat, which will take place from 1-2pm!

DOA Tweetchat

On Thursday at this time, Virginia’s health care providers, pro-choice organizations, and women’s rights activists will be live-tweeting about the status of reproductive rights, choice, and access in VA – and how we can ensure safe, affordable, and accessible health care for all.

We will also have some special guests joining us, including: WIN (@WINonline), fabulous feminist bloggers & activists Erin Matson (@ErinToTheMax) and Jessica Pieklo (@hegemommy), superstar women’s rights advocate Lily Bolourian (@LilyBolourian), and others!

Join the conversation this Thursday from 1-2pm by following us (@NARALvirginia) and using the hashtag #4healthVA. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the ongoing fight for Virginia’s reproductive health!

Members of the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition:

PCC coaltion orgs

Virginia NOW, Progress VA, American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, Unite Women Virginia, National Council of Jewish Women of Virginia, Jewish Community Relations Council of Virginia, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, League of Women Voters of Virginia, American Association of University Women of Virginia

Abortion is like WHAT?!? Sen. Dick Black is at it again

Hey Virginia, remember Sen. Dick Black? You know, our favorite state Senator who as former Delegate became infamous for handing out plastic fetuses on the floor, dismissing the concept of marital rape and referring to contraception as “baby pesticides“?

Well, he’s back. And after his most recent comments, we doubt you’ll forget him again.

This Tuesday, as hundreds of pro-choice Virginians rallied at the Capitol to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Sen. Dick Black took to the floor and actually compared abortion clinics to “Auschwitz”.  Let me repeat that. Forty years after abortion became legal in the United States, Sen. Black likened what is a constitutional, safe, and common medical procedure to NAZI GERMANY.

Watch the video:

This is nothing short of appalling.   Not only are Senator Black’s comments extremely offensive to my family and the families of the millions of people (yes – living, breathing, thinking, loving people) who were senselessly killed in the tragedy of the Holocaust, this sort of attack is part of a troubling and ever-expanding strategy to demonize the women of Virginia and the doctors who serve them.

In honor of 40 years of Roe v. Wade, please donate $40 to NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia in Sen. Black’s name. We will send him a personal letter from you demanding an apology, and of course, thank him for the generous contribution made on his behalf.

Sen. Dick Black is not an outlier – not some sort of “bad apple” who happened to put his foot in his mouth. As is obvious after watching the Virginia General Assembly launch attack after attack on women’s health,  plenty of others in the Statehouse hold a similar disdain for a woman’s right to choose when and whether to have children. In fact, there are undoubtedly those in Virginia’s government who wouldn’t hesitate to join the Senator in comparing reproductive health to mass genocide and trained physicians to murderers.

So here we are. Forty years ago, women in Virginia and across the country were ingesting lye, hitting themselves with baseball bats, and throwing themselves down the stairs in order to end a pregnancy. Now, forty years after Roe v. Wade codified safe, legal abortion care, lawmakers like Sen. Black will stop at nothing to bring us back.

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia will not go back. We will not allow women to die without access to reproductive healthcare, and we will not allow lawmakers like Sen. Black to impose their dangerous ideals onto the women and families of the Commonwealth.

Please join us in continuing this fight. Donate $40 to NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia in honor of forty years of Roe v. Wade,  and we will send Senator Black a personal letter from you demanding an immediate apology.

Thank you for everything you do.

Alena Yarmosky

Advocacy & Communications Manager, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia