Delegates Attack Women’s Reproductive Healthcare for Political Gain
For Immediate Release
February 12, 2009
(Richmond, VA) Today, over 60 members of the House of Delegates voted to adopt three anti-choice amendments to the House Budget Bill, HB1600.
Budget Item 301#2h, which passed the House by a vote of 61-36, singles out abortion providers for onerous and medically unnecessary architectural, procedural and reporting requirements. Because they have been unsuccessful in recent years in shepherding similar proposals through the legislature, anti-choice legislators are now inserting the issue into the budget process. “First-trimester abortions are among the safest surgical procedures performed in the United States, with less than 0.5% of women obtaining abortions experiencing a complication,” said Jessica Bearden, Policy and Political Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “The real goal here is to make providing abortion services so costly that clinics around the Commonwealth will have to close their doors.”
Though Virginia already has a broad prohibition on public funding of abortion, Budget Item 4-5.04#1h, which passed 64-35, makes the ban even more draconian by prohibiting Medicaid coverage for abortions in cases of incapacitating fetal abnormalities or substantial endangerment to the health of the woman. “Our opponents like to insinuate that Virginia is broadly funding what they term ‘elective abortions,’” said Bearden. “I want them to tell that to a woman on Medicaid who is facing a pregnancy that will severely impact her health. I would like them to look in the face of a woman whose wanted pregnancy is non-viable because of a fetal abnormality. The House of Delegates should be ashamed of themselves for this heartless attack on low-income women’s reproductive healthcare.”
The third amendment, Budget Item 4-5.04#2h, prohibits state expenditures to Planned Parenthood. It passed 61-38. On the floor of the House, Delegate Robert Marshall claimed that Planned Parenthood uses state funds to conduct political work—a claim that is blatantly false. “State expenditures to Planned Parenthood fund low-cost preventative healthcare services and education for women and men across the Commonwealth,” said Bearden. “Planned Parenthood does more to prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion in one day than the House of Delegates has done in the past five years.”