We’re halfway through Virginia Assembly legislative session! Tuesday was crossover, the final day the House and Senate have to act on their own bills before the bills “cross over” for consideration in the other body. This deadline means that the past few week have been action packed. We’ve been fighting tooth and nail to stop attacks on reproductive healthcare, while also pushing a bold, pro-choice legislative agenda.
Here is an update on the key anti-choice bills we’ve been fighting:
- HB1090 (Planned Parenthood defunding bill): Passed the House of Delegates and headed to the Virginia Senate
If it became law, this dangerous bill would prohibit the Virginia Department of Health from granting program funds to the state’s 6 Planned Parenthood health centers. These health centers are responsible for providing critical reproductive health care to 22,000 Virginians annually, including cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and family planning. This politically-motivated attack would hurt the thousands of Virginian women and families who rely on affordable health care through Planned Parenthood. Help us fight back by contacting your Senator and urging him or her to vote NO!
- HB963 (20-week abortion ban): Passed out of House subcommittee, Failed to Advance Out of House Committee
The House Courts Committee postponed action on this abortion ban, which would have criminalized abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy & took personal complex medical decisions out of the hands of women and their families. The bill was carried over to 2017, which means it will almost certainly come up for a vote next year. While this is good news, anti-choice legislators unbelievably defeated the bill because it didn’t go far enough — a testament to the extreme anti-choice ideology we’re up against in Richmond.
While we’ve been beating back these attacks on reproductive rights, we’ve also been pushing a proactive policy agenda to expand healthcare access for Virginia women. Our pro-choice champions in the General Assembly carried bills to overturn the invasive mandatory ultrasound law, eliminate discriminatory abortion coverage bans, and expand birth control coverage for Virginia women. Unfortunately, the anti-choice majorities in both the House and the Senate rejected these commonsense reforms. But we won’t be deterred by their backwards views. We know pro-choice Virginians are in the majority! Polls show 7 in 10 Virginians agree that women should be free to make their own decisions about abortion. And we won’t stop fighting until reproductive choice is both a right and a reality for every woman in our community.