Reproductive Rights and the 2009 General Assembly

 Ever had one of those weeks where you had about 100 things happening at once?  That’s what last Wednesday was like for us! 


We hosted the first of two panel discussions on Reproductive Rights and the 2009 General Assembly on Wednesday.  Our panel featured Northern Virginia Delegates Kris Amundson, Vivian Watts, David  Englin, Adam Ebbin and Charniele Herring.


Delegate Kris Amundson started the panel with a discussion of her involvement with the Birth Control Protection Act, a bill she patroned this year, as well as her efforts to protect access to contraception from anti-choice restrictions in the House of Delegates.


Delegate Charniele Herring, the newest member of the House of Delegates, described her experiences as a member of the House Committee on Courts of Justice, the committee that hears much of the anti-choice legislation designed to chip away at access to abortion.  This year alone, twelve bills and budget amendments that attempted to restrict Virginians’ reproductive freedoms were defeated.


Delegate David Englin, patron of the Pharmacy Refusal Notification Act, explained why he is committed to defending reproductive rights as well as his frustrations with pharmacies (such as the DMC Pharmacy in Chantilly) that refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and emergency contraception.


Delegate Adam Ebbin, a member of the House Committee on Transportation, gave activists a play-by-play of the “Choose Life” license plate.  Delegate Ebbin expressed his outrage with the bill, which could potentially create a $70,000 revenue stream for crisis pregnancy centers each month.


The co-chair of the reproductive rights caucus, Delegate Vivian Watts, rounded out the panel with her fascinating experiences as someone frequently on the defense against choice attacks on the House floor since 1996.


One thing was common in each of the delegates’ presentations: elections matter.  While the delegates highlighted both triumphs and failures for choice, they all underscored critical need to elect pro-choice representatives, from the House of Delegates to the Governor’s Mansion.


Missed last Wednesday’s panel?  Check out our community events calendar at

for upcoming pro-choice events in your area – we’ve got a lot going on, and we can’t wait to see you there!


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