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Video: VA Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, Del. Cia Price Discuss Their Work to Safeguard the Right to Contraception – and the Serious Threats to That Right by Republicans Like Glenn Youngkin

Youngkin "now has 30 days to decide if he's going to continue to cosplay as a moderate while acquiescing to the most extreme flank of his party"

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See below for video of VA State Senator Ghazala Hashmi and Delegate Cia Price, talking about their work to protect the right to contraception in Virginia, as well as the threats to that right from  anti-reproductive-freedom Republicans; those who are true believers as well as those who “willingly, blindly follow the most extreme members of their party”; extreme anti-abortion/anti-contraception groups like the Susan B. Anthony List; etc.

Sen. Ghazala Hashmi: “This particular discussion today is such a timely event for us in Virginia. The General Assembly met just yesterday to consider all of Governor Youngkin’s amendments to the bills that we had sent to his desk following the end of our session, and I’m proud that my colleagues refused to even entertain the governor’s efforts to gut our Right to Contraception Act. As we know, reproductive rights are under attack all across the country, and Virginia is actually the last safe haven in the South for abortion rights ad we are also on the front lines now to protect the right to contraception for our Southern region. And as chair of the Senate Education and Health Committee, I’ve made it my priority to defeat any attempts to roll back our progress and also to advance proposals like this one that would protect access to reproductive health care, including all forms of contraception. So this year, my colleague, Delegate Cia Price and I introduced the Right to Contraception Bill. And unfortunately, Governor Youngkin just took the teeth out of the legislation; he said it went too far and he decided to return it to the General Assembly with a non nonbinding policy suggestion. And frankly, his substitute wasn’t even worth the paper that it’s written on. And that’s because our governor, like so many, is trying to have it both ways. He knows that Virginians want this bill to protect contraception access, but he’s also wants to leave space for extremists who insist on conflating abortion with contraception. And I’ll share that I have lots of Republican colleagues who have told me privately that they want to support the Right to Contraception bill; they understand its critical need, but they can’t because of potential political fallout from the fringes of their own party. But fortunately, the governor has another chance to get it right. So yesterday, we sent the bill back to his desk; he has another 30 days to act, and he really needs to respond to what Virginians want. We’re going to ask the governor again to listen to the voices of Virginians, including the 37,000 people whose signatures we delivered to his office, and make sure that he does the right thing for everybody in this state.”

Del. Cia Price: “Thank you Senator Hashmi, it’s been a pleasure working with you on this. And as the prolific poet and activist Maya Angelou said, when people show you who they are, believe them the first time. They told us they were coming after contraception and we have to believe them. From what we just heard about what Justice Thomas said, to the misinformation and disinformation campaign being spread on social media, to comments like that from US Senator Blackburn, the national threat is real. And then here in Virginia in regards to the bill that Senator Hashmi and I carried, there was a legislator from my area who voted against the bill, and when asked by press, he said it was because he thought it would protect drugs that caused abortion. Another one pressed by a reporter simply said, ask caucus, as if to imply that her no vote on the bill was ordered by leadership. And even if we go back to 2020, which was not that long ago, when Democrats bought a bill to the house to define birth control such that FDA-approved contraceptive methods shall not be considered abortion for the purposes of Virginia code, not one single Republican voted for the bill, even though it passed into law, and that’s why we need the Right to Contraception Act, because we as legislators need to understand the difference between abortion and contraception when voting on these laws that affect health care. And others will willingly, blindly follow the most extreme members of their party to vote against protecting this right, and this is such a disservice to people people like me. We know contraception is used for both family planning and to treat a variety of health conditions. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and without contraception I would not be able to leave the house and do my job. So the Right to Contraception Act is personal, and it is about protecting the personal right to bodily autonomy and having access to a critical form of health care. And we need an actual law to protect that right. So in this political climate, we also need leaders who are bold enough to say unequivocally yes, I want to protect your rights. So like Senator Hashmi said, we sent the bill back to the governor and he now has 30 days to decide if he’s going to continue to cosplay as a moderate while acquiescing to the most extreme flank of his party and veto the bill, or if he’s going to listen to all of the the 80% of voters who have said in polling and the 37,000 in our petitions that they support protecting the right to contraception, and sign it into law. The urgency is real, the time is now for governor Youngkin to do the right thing and sign this bill. We obviously are hearing that we cannot wait for another year knowing what is looming on the national front.”

“Youth voters are not a monolith, but I am just so proud to see how many are engaged and watching and witnessing the literal threats that are coming to contraception among other things. And so I am very proud that they’re clear they don’t want to go backwards. And so I think in their activism and just making sure that it’s not just on social media, that they come out and vote and engage. I think the candidates that are aligned with those of us that support the right to contraception will see, just like was mentioned, an increase in support, and those that don’t will be seen as a threat to their health, their money, their future. And I think that is well understood. I do think for a lot of the youth voters, that young voters that get their information from social media, it does underscore how much we have to make sure that that misinformation and disinformation campaign does not catch fire and does not go as viral as the truth, but I think that it will play an important and and pivotal role in in how young voters will decide to show up and who they will decide to support looming on the national front.”

“Our bills did advance, because we had Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, but once it got to the governor, I do think that he was trying to placate some of those folks….The Susan B. Anthony list is active in Virginia and I think all states, and they give millions of dollars to candidates that will stand against abortion and contraception. And so there’s the money piece that they’re giving to the candidates, but also in the actual committee room when they were trying to testify. There were the Family Foundation and the Catholic groups that would stand up, and they were part of the misinformation honestly in their testimony and likening the FDA-approved contraception devices to abortion and really trying to thwart what the actual bill was doing, by saying that it would come down on doctors – and that’s not what the bill was doing at all. So yes, they are active; yes, they are giving money; and yes, they are giving false testimony.”

VIDEO: As Right to Contraception Act Returns to Governor Youngkin’s Desk, Senator Hashmi and Delegate Price Join National Press Call with Legislators Who Introduced the Bill in Other States

Following Virginia’s reconvene session, reproductive freedom champions from across the nation discuss their work to protect the right to contraception

View a recording of the press call HERE.

RICHMOND, Va. — Following yesterday’s re-convene session in which Virginia Democrats refused to entertain Governor Youngkin’s substitute that would have gutted the Right to Contraception Act (RTCA), Senator Ghazala Hashmi (D-Chesterfield) and Delegate Marcia “Cia” Price (D-Newport News) joined state lawmakers from across the country for a national press call to share updates on each state’s efforts to pass the RTCA into law.

Across the country, state legislators are fighting to ensure the right to contraception is enshrined in their state codes in the event the U.S. Supreme Court overturns cases such as Griswold v. Connecticut. Legislators from Arizona, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa and Wisconsin were also represented on the call.

In Virginia, Governor Youngkin stated that the Right to Contraception Act as passed went  “too far and sent down a complete rewrite of the bill, converting it from an enforceable law to a toothless Section 1 bill. The governor’s substitute also deleted explicit protections for IUDs and emergency contraception. Democrats in the General Assembly sent the bills as originally passed back to the governor, who now has 29 days left to decide whether to sign or veto SB237 and HB609.

“Governor Youngkin’s amendments to the bills … took the teeth out of the legislation. And he decided to return it to the General Assembly with a non-binding policy suggestion, which frankly wasn’t even worth the paper it’s written on,” Senator Hashmi said during the call. “I have lots of Republican colleagues who have told me privately that they want to support the Right to Contraception bill … but they can’t because of potential political fallout from the fringes of their own party.”

“We sent the bill back to the governor, and he now has 30 days to decide if he’s going to continue to cosplay as a moderate while acquiescing to the most extreme flank of his party and veto the bill or if he’s going to listen to the 80% of voters who have said in polling – and the 37,000 in our petitions – that they support protecting the right to contraception and sign it into law,” said Delegate Price during the call. “The urgency is real; the time is now for Governor Youngkin to do the right thing and sign this bill.”

In response to a reporter’s question on the role that groups opposing reproductive rights have played in undermining efforts to pass the legislation, Delegate Price called out the Susan B. Anthony List specifically. SBA Pro-Life has stated its opposition to the Virginia bill, citing a specific objection to emergency contraceptives. The group holds the position that “all emergency contraceptives can cause early abortions” and has called the provision of the Affordable Care Act requiring contraceptive coverage an “abortion drug mandate.”

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that a legal historian at the Georgia State University’s School of Law “added that [Youngkin’s substitute] … may also be a nod to people who see some forms of contraception as akin to abortion.”

SBA Pro-Life and its partner, Women Speak Out PAC, invested $1.4 million in Governor Youngkin’s 2021 election.

A recording of the national press call, which includes full remarks from Senator Hashmi and Delegate Price, can be viewed HERE.

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