Welcome to this week’s 2011 General Assembly update!
The Assembly is moving quickly during this 60-day session, so we’d like to get you caught up on legislation dealing with reproductive rights.
As we faced some tough losses this past election cycle, we’re unfortunately facing a slew of bad bills this year:
HB 1 – “Personhood”
This is the bill catching everyone’s attention this year. After Mississippi voters made it clear they didn’t want anything to do with this radical legislation, Virginia’s anti-choice legislators, led by quixotic Delegate Bob Marshall, have decided to try to get passed the General Assembly and onto Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk. This could make all forms of abortion, including in the case of rape or incest, completely illegal and ban the most effective forms of birth control.
HBs 261/462 & SBs 279/484 – Mandating Ultrasounds
Delegates Cole and Byron and Senators Vogel and Smith have brought back this familiar bill. They are all fighting to get the credit from the Family Foundation to see who can place the most undue burdens upon a pregnant woman seeking an abortion. This would force women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, and in Delegate Cole’s legislation, at least 48 hours before. This bill invades the doctor-patient relationship and forces a patient to undergo and pay for, in some cases, a procedure that may not be medically relevant or necessary. Furthermore, this violates the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics.
HB 62 – Abortion Funding
Delegate Mark Cole is back with more job creating legislation for his constituents in Stafford County. Just kidding, he doesn’t have time for that. He’s decided that it’s in the Commonwealth’s best interest to take away funding for women who need to have an abortion because a certified physician has found that the fetus will be born with a gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency.
HB 464 & SB 496 – Health Exchange
Del. Bryon and Sen. Watkins have introduced this language that creates the state’s health care exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act but prohibits the sale of insurance coverage for abortions, except when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest. Another case of those who want government to be smaller and less intrusive to be anything but.
HB 1174 – Health Insurance
Bob Marshall (yes, these names have a tendency to repeat), he of small government and less taxes, has proposed a bill telling insurance companies to hand out separate but equal insurance policies: one with abortion and one without.
These bills have all been assigned committees or sub-committees but haven’t been voted on yet. Be sure to keep checking our bill tracker to get the latest updates on all the bills we are following. And be sure to email us to if you have questions about contacting your legislator!