Home Virginia Politics Advocates Protest Planned Parenthood Defunding During Virginia Floor Session Today

Advocates Protest Planned Parenthood Defunding During Virginia Floor Session Today

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From Progress Virginia:

Advocates Protest Planned Parenthood Defunding During Floor Session Today

Richmond, Virginia–On Tuesday, members of the House of Delegates voted to pass HB 2264, a bill aimed squarely at defunding Planned Parenthood. Advocates from Progress Virginia, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, and NLIRH Virginia Latina Advocacy Network, Virginia Civic Engagement Table, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia were there to demand legislators vote against the bill.

First, advocates lined the sidewalk between the General Assembly Building and the Capitol. Legislators on their way to vote were confronted by dozens of advocates demanding they stand up for women’s health by voting against the bill just moments before the vote took place. Then, the advocates headed to the gallery above the House Floor. Wearing t-shirts that spelled out “We are watching,” they sat in the first row of the gallery to ensure they were seen and legislators knew they were watching as they voted to defund Planned Parenthood and made it that much harder for women to access the full range of health care services they need.

“We were here today to make sure that legislators know that women are watching, and that defunding Planned Parenthood is unacceptable. Planned Parenthood provides important services like cancer screenings, family planning services, contraceptive counseling, and STI testing and treatment,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “These services are absolutely critical for women all across the commonwealth, and defunding Planned Parenthood means that vital health care services will not be available to the communities that are most medically underserved.”

“The activism we saw today at the state Capitol is a clear sign that women care deeply about threats to their reproductive freedom,” Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said. “A majority of Virginians support Planned Parenthood and oppose efforts to end funding for their important health care services for low income women. In voting to defund Planned Parenthood, legislators are subverting the will of the people and endangering health and the lives of thousands of Virginia women for purely ideological and political reasons. It’s shameful.”

“Today, the leaders in the House have confirmed that they are turning their backs on the majority of Virginians who support Planned Parenthood,” said Tara Gibson, statewide field director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. “Very simply, this bill is designed to undermine the health of women in Virginia.”

Virginia Planned Parenthood health centers provide contraceptive care to thousands of low-income women each year. Nationally, more than one-third of low-income women who receive publicly supported contraceptives receive care at Planned Parenthood. A majority of Virginians agree that a woman who has decided to have an abortion should have access to safe, high-quality, and affordable health care.

  • House of Legislature Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood – Again
    Same bill vetoed last year by Governor McAuliffe

    Richmond, VA – This morning, the House Legislature voted 60-33 to pass HB 2264 to defund Planned Parenthood, effectively restricting low-income Virginian’s access to reproductive health care services. The exact same bill was vetoed just last year by Governor McAuliffe.

    In a clear attack on women’s health, HB 2264, introduced by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24), would prohibit the Department of Health from entering into any contracts or providing funds to certain health centers that also perform abortions. The bill, which was modeled off legislation drafted by a national anti-abortion organization, fits into a larger agenda to restrict abortion access and remove options for low-income women and their families.

    More than a dozen reproductive freedom supporters greeted members of the legislature this morning as they made their way to the Capitol, urging them to vote against the measure. Activists also gathered in the House gallery to protest the bill, wearing shirts that spelled out “We are watching” as the vote was taken. The protests today followed over a week of concerted activism as Virginia women sought to convince their legislators to protect Planned Parenthood funding.

    “Virginia voters are indeed watching and will hold legislators accountable this fall for votes against women’s health and rights,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “Planned Parenthood clinics provide a whole host of vital health services to their communities. This bill disproportionately hurts rural and low-income Virginia men and women who rely on Planned Parenthood.”

    Thousands of low-income women rely on Virginia Planned Parenthood health centers for contraceptive care, STI testing, cancer screenings, and abortion care. Planned Parenthood is one of the few remaining providers that offers consistent and reliable care to Medicaid recipients, and local health care providers that don’t specialize in reproductive health have questioned their ability to fill the gap in service created by Planned Parenthood closures.

    “In voting to defund Planned Parenthood, Del. Ben Cline and his fellow legislators are endangering the lives of tens of thousands of Virginians for purely political reasons,” said Keene. “The legislature is subverting the will of the people and harming Virginians in the process. But women are watching, and they will remember this, come November.”