National Partnership for Women & Families

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Va. gov. vetoes legislation to defund Planned Parenthood

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on Tuesday vetoed a bill (HB 1090) that would have defunded Planned Parenthood clinics and other reproductive health facilities in the state, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (Suderman, AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/29).

The General Assembly voted 64-35 to approve the measure, which then passed the state Senate in a 21-19 vote. (Wilson, The Virginian-Pilot, 3/29). Conservative state lawmakers likely do not have enough votes to override a veto (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/8).

Bill details

Under the bill, the state Department of Health would have been barred from contracting with or awarding a grant to an entity that offers abortion care in instances other than rape, incest or to save the life of a woman. The bill, introduced by Del. Ben Cline (R), included an exception for hospitals.

According to McAuliffe, the measure would have ended current agreements between the state health department and the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood (VLPP). Under the existing contracts, three Planned Parenthood clinics in the state provide about 500 tests for sexually transmitted infections each year (The Virginian-Pilot, 3/29). According to the Lynchburg News & Advance, the state does not have an agreement in place with Planned Parenthood to provide family planning services (Rohr, Lynchburg News & Advance, 3/29).

Veto details

McAuliffe announced his veto at Planned Parenthood branch in Richmond, telling those in attendance, "We're here today to smack down the latest attack on women's health care rights." He added, "I am very proud of my strong record on reproductive rights, and let me tell you this, I am very proud to veto this particular piece of legislation" (The Virginian-Pilot, 3/29).

In a statement explaining his veto, McAuliffe said, "If we are going to build a new, more vibrant Virginia economy, we need to be opening up doors to quality, affordable health care, not closing them." He added, "I have promised to stand in the way of any and all attempts to interfere with a woman's right to make her own health care decisions" (Lynchburg News & Advance, 3/29).

VLPP President and CEO Paulette McElwain praised McAuliffe's veto, saying, "We are here today because we have a governor who has promised to be a brick wall to protect women's access to health care" (The Virginian-Pilot, 3/29).