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Video: Virginia Senate Republicans Defeat Bill Stating that “a pregnant person has a fundamental right to obtain a lawful abortion”


For the record, this superb bill by Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D), among other things, “Provides that a pregnant person has a fundamental right to obtain a lawful abortion and that no statute or regulation shall be construed to prohibit the performance of an abortion prior to viability or if necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant person. The bill also provides that any statute that places a burden on a pregnant person’s access to abortion without conferring any legitimate health benefit is unenforceable.” Also for the record, the bill was defeated a few minutes ago on a party-line vote, with all Democrats voting “yea” and all Republicans voting “nay.” Any further questions?

P.S. I hear that Sen. Amanda Chase (R) made the laughable claim that she was voting no on the bill because it supposedly could allow optometrists and doctors to perform abortions. WTF???

P.P.S. The woman from the far-right Family Foundation actually said the bill “would reduce the amount of regret a woman would have” — as if that were a bad thing! These people are nuts.

  • From Progress VA:

    Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition Condemns Conservative Politicians Trying To Control Women’s Bodies for Defeating Whole Woman’s Health Act

    Richmond, Virginia—On Thursday morning, anti-woman members of the Senate Committee on Education and Health defeated Senator McClellan’s SB910, the Whole Woman’s Health Act. The Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition is extremely disappointed that the committee failed to pass such a commonsense bill that affirms women’s right to receive healthcare and brings Virginia code into accordance with the United States Constitution.

    Our families and communities benefit when women have access to the health care they need, including abortion. Comprehensive reproductive health care, including safe, legal abortion, is a vital component of a woman’s overall health and must be protected, but that becomes impossible when politicians, not doctors, put sham restrictions on a woman’s ability to access abortion and the healthcare options she needs.

    “We are disappointed that today members of the Senate failed to stand up for a person’s constitutional right to access a safe, legal abortion in Virginia,” Jennifer Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia and member of the Women’s Equality Coalition, said. “Politicians have no business obstructing personal medical decisions. We will not rest until every unconstitutional abortion restriction is prohibited in Virginia law.”

    “We are proud to support and stand alongside powerful leaders within Virginia to introduce the Whole Woman’s Health Act, which was developed after the historic Whole Woman’s Health Supreme Court victory last year which reaffirmed that courts will not tolerate targeted attacks on abortion that impose an undue burden,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, Founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and lead plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case, said. “Access to abortion is a constitutionally protected right and getting in between a woman and her doctor isn’t just wrong, it’s dangerous. The pattern of incessant and medically unnecessary attacks on women’s healthcare has not stopped and this is why the Whole Woman’s Health Act is so vital to all women and families. All people should have the dignity to make their own healthcare decisions.”

    “Two thirds (67%) of Virginia Latino/a voters say the increased restrictions on abortion that have occurred since 2010 are a step in the wrong direction and this is why today’s vote is extremely disappointing for our organization and activists,” Margie Del Castillo, Director of Field and Advocacy with the NLIRH Virginia Latina Advocacy Network, said. “Unconstitutional regulations that still remain on the books harm Latina health in particular. A Latina working to raise the necessary funds for these services must often choose between paying for food, rent, or utilities, and the healthcare she needs. Harmful, sham restrictions compound the cost for women due to lost wages and added childcare and transportation expenses. For these reasons and more, we’ll continue to fight for health, dignity and justice and it won’t be the last time that the General Assembly sees this legislation from us and our communities.”

    “A woman is fully capable of making the best decision for herself, her family, her future, and her health without interference from politicians in Richmond. And it is politicians, not doctors who are pushing and protecting medically-unnecessary sham restrictions designed to limit a woman’s access to abortion and trample on her constitutional rights,” Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said. “These politicians are clearly ignoring the will of the people, who made their voices heard when they voted overwhelmingly for candidates who embraced reproductive freedom last November, Furthermore, they are willing to keep unconstitutional provisions on the books to enforce their own ideology.

    On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, reaffirming that access to abortion is a fundamental constitutional right that abortion restrictions are unconstitutional unless the benefits they confer are sufficient to justify the burdens they impose. The Whole Woman’s Health Act enshrines the fundamental right to access abortion into state law, repeals state restrictions that impede access to abortion, and makes it illegal to enforce a new regulation on abortion that has no legitimate medical benefit. The Women’s Equality Coalition, a statewide coalition made up of 14 member organizations dedicated to ensuring that all Virginia women are able to fully participate in social, economic, and political life.

  • RobertColgan

    Article I. Bill of Rights
    Section 11. Due process of law; obligation of contracts; taking or damaging of private property; prohibited discrimination; jury trial in civil cases:

    That no person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law; that the General Assembly shall not pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts; and that

    “the right to be free from any governmental discrimination upon the basis of religious conviction, race, color, sex, or national origin shall not be abridged, except that the mere separation of the sexes shall not be considered discrimination.”

    How is stopping a woman from having access to medical procedure that ONLY concerns a woman’s body, by elected MALE officials in government, not a violation by “governmental discrimination” . . . that a woman’s right to be FREE FROM ANY GOVERNMENTAL DISCRIMINATION shall NOT be abridged. . . .???

    But this same Constitution also forbids marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman…………?!?! How backward is this State?
    There’s a huge difference between being conservative —- and being in violation of equal rights by holding on to practices that are clearly discriminatory.

  • From Progress VA:

    Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition Denounces Anti-Women Members of House Subcommittee for Defeating Common Sense Birth Control Bill

    Richmond, Virginia—On Thursday afternoon,House Commerce and Labor Subcommittee #1 defeated Delegate Filler-Corn’s Reproductive Health Equity Act, HB1481, a common sense bill that would have made it easier for women to access and afford the cost of birth control. The Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition is disappointed that the subcommittee failed to pass this bill and provide protections for women who are making responsible choices about their reproductive health.

    Women should be able to decide how and when to have a family, and having access to affordable birth control options is a crucial part of making that a reality. Virginians have reaped both economic and health benefits from the no co-pay comprehensive coverage of contraceptives as part of the mandated coverage of women’s essential health services coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The Reproductive Health Equity Act would enshrine the no co-pay contraceptive drug, device, and procedure coverage requirements from the Affordable Care Act into Virginia law, safeguarding these essential benefits for all Virginians.

    “Today’s vote is a slap in the face to more than 1.6 million Virginia women who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate,” Jennifer Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said. “Every woman deserves affordable access to birth control, and we will pursue every avenue to make that a reality.”

    “Not only is no co-pay contraceptive coverage enormously popular, but women will suffer if they are robbed of the full range of preventative reproductive healthcare, including access to free basic preventative healthcare services like mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and domestic violence counseling,” Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said. “The Reproductive Health Equity Act would have safeguarded the coverage that already exists for these lifesaving services, and that’s what our elected officials voted against when they killed the bill today.”

    “For Latinas in Virginia, birth control access is an issue of reproductive justice. Latinas experience higher incidences of unintended pregnancy, are more likely to live in poverty and less likely to be able to afford healthcare out-of-pocket, as well as are more likely to be enrolled in public insurance,” Margie del Castillo, Director of Field and Advocacy with the NLIRH Virginia Latina Advocacy Network. “The ability to access affordable birth control no matter where she lives, works or how much money she makes is vitally important to the overall wellbeing of our communities. Which is why we are disappointed by today’s vote to dismiss HB1481. This proactive measure would have helped Latinas plan their families and futures as well as improve their health and wellbeing. We will continue to fight until we win on this important issue, for all Latinas and their families in the Commonwealth.”

    The Brookings Institute estimates that unplanned pregnancies cost taxpayers an average of $11 billion per year. Some of the most cost-efficient contraceptive methods like IUD’s, implants, and sterilization come with steep up-front costs. Without no co-pay contraceptive coverage, these methods would be beyond the reach of many women. A 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that over 77% of women and 64% of men support laws requiring health insurance plans to cover the cost of birth control. A 2017 poll showed that over 77% of women don’t want these benefits to stop. The Women’s Equality Coalition, a statewide coalition made up of 14 member organizations dedicated to ensuring that all Virginia women are able to fully participate in social, economic, and political life.

    • True Virginian

      I would guess that depends on what you consider a life. If you believe life starts at inception, then I would think The text in The Bill of Rights, Section 11 stating ,”that no person shall be deprived of his life” would be relevant. This is a moral issue between a woman, the father and whatever beliefs they hold. Legislating morality has always been a slippery slope.

  • From Progress VA:

    Women’s Equality Coalition Denounces Conservative Members of House Committee For Defeating Bill To Provide Paid Sick Leave to Hardworking Virginians

    Richmond, Virginia—On Thursday afternoon, House Commerce and Labor Subcommittee #1 defeated HB973, Delegate Guzman’s bill that would have allowed hardworking Virginians to take time off when they get sick without having to worry about how they will make up for the lost income and still manage to pay their bills on time. The Women’s Equality Coalition is extremely disappointed that members of the committee refuse to take action to help hardworking Virginians.

    Everyone gets sick, but not everyone can afford to take time off work to recover from illness or care for a sick child. Without paid sick days, families are faced with the impossible choice between jeopardizing public health or risking their family’s economic security. Businesses benefit when their employees have access to paid sick days because when sick employees are able to stay home, the spread of disease slows and workplaces are both healthier and more productive. Plus, workers recover faster from illness and obtain timely medical care –enabling them to get back to work sooner and holding down health care costs.

    “We have long supported flexible workplace policies to address the family responsibilities of employees and are dismayed that the subcommittee voted against HB973. In voting against this bill, the Committee on Commerce and Labor has demonstrated that it is not interested in either commerce or labor, or families, for that matter,” Sandy Lawrence, Co-President of the American Association of University Women of Virginia, said. “With a lack of paid time off, workers come to work when they or family members are sick; or stay home, not get paid, and often jeopardize their jobs and their family’s well-being.”

    41.4% of Virginia workers, or 1,171,183 employees don’t have paid sick days. Currently, there are no federal legal requirements for paid sick leave, but companies subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are required to provide unpaid sick leave. The Women’s Equality Coalition, a statewide coalition made up of 14 member organizations dedicated to ensuring that all Virginia women are able to fully participate in social, economic, and political life.