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Youngkin’s Veto of Bill That “protects a provider’s medical license against unwarranted claims and attacks for providing legal healthcare services is a disgrace”

Sen. Jennifer Carroll Foy: “WE are on the right side of history on this issue."

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From VA State Sen. Jennifer Carroll Foy:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Carroll Foy Responds To Governor Youngkin’s Veto of Bills Aimed at Upholding Reproductive Rights and Ensuring Professional Integrity

April 9, 2024 | Richmond, VA – Today, Senator Jennifer Carroll Foy issued the following
statement in response to the Governor’s veto of SB 716/HB 519:

The Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 716 is a disregard for both the integrity of medical professionals, as well as the continued, undeniable support that Virginians have shown for reproductive freedoms across the Commonwealth.

SB 716, championed by Senator Jennifer Carroll Foy, is a crucial effort aimed at ensuring that healthcare providers offering abortion care are treated with the dignity and professionalism they rightfully deserve. By explicitly prohibiting any attempts to discipline or penalize doctors solely for providing this essential healthcare service, the legislation upholds the cornerstone principle that medical decisions should be made by patients in consultation with their trusted healthcare providers, devoid of political interference or
coercion.

“Legislation such as SB 716 is necessary and needed. On ballot after ballot, in one election after another, the American people have made it clear that the right to an abortion is crucial,” stated Senator Carroll Foy. “WE are on the right side of history on this issue. I will never stop fighting for the reproductive freedoms that the vast majority of Virginians value.”

This legislation transcends mere protection of women’s rights; it is a testament to the recognition of the expertise and unwavering dedication of medical professionals who offer indispensable healthcare services. By safeguarding their ability to practice medicine without fear of reprisal or discrimination, SB 716 fosters a healthcare environment that prioritizes patient well-being and respects the judicious judgment of physicians. This veto demonstrates a tolerance for attempts to intimidate or harass healthcare providers.

In response to the veto of this legislation, advocates for reproductive freedoms had this to say:

“The Governor’s actions on this commonsense bill that simply protects a provider’s medical license against unwarranted claims and attacks for providing legal healthcare services is a disgrace,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of REPRO Rising Virginia. “In this post-Roe landscape, we must remain vigilant to ensure Virginia remains a central access point for care, protect the patients who need services no matter where they come from, and the courageous medical providers that work every day to ensure people can exercise their bodily autonomy safely and with dignity. We will not stop until this is a true
reality.”

“We are deeply disappointed by Governor Youngkin’s decision to veto crucial legislation aimed at protecting the licenses of Virginia health care providers offering legal abortion care,” stated Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. “By vetoing this bill and failing to take an important stand against overzealous prosecution, the Governor has sent a discouraging message to Virginian health care professionals dedicated to reproductive rights and to the patients that rely on the availability of essential health services.”

“We are disappointed but not surprised by the veto of this and other popular and important legislation dealing with abortion rights and protecting our patients and providers. We know that there is a widespread and insidious project of intimidation, criminalization, and attack on our reproductive rights, on doctors, other medical providers, and on anyone who helps a pregnant person make the best decision for themself. Bills like this one are important steps in protecting the network of care available to those who need it,” said Kenda Sutton-El, Executive Director of Birth In Color. “We hope that in the future, Virginia can be a state that protects our doctors, and respects and empowers patients. We at Birth In Color are committed to continuing the project of working for this brighter future with our partners and our allies.”

“Doctors should be allowed to provide health care to their patients without interference from the government. This is especially true of doctors who are providing reproductive health care to pregnant people seeking abortion access,” said LaTwyla Matthias, Executive Director of Progress Virginia. “By vetoing this bill, Governor Youngkin is telling doctors that they should be sanctioned for simply doing their jobs. This is a disappointing setback, but people in our community have made it clear that they want everyone to have access to abortion care and we will ensure that this bill passes again next year.”

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