Skip to comments.2011 VA General Assembly wrap up from Planned Parenthood (BARF ALERT)
Posted on 04/26/2011 7:32:33 AM PDT by Gopher Broke
In all, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia worked to defeat ten anti-choice bills and four budget amendments that threatened access to reproductive health care, prevention services and the perennial attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.
This was an especially challenging General Assembly session. For the past several years, Planned Parenthood has been able to prevent anti-choice measures from passing. However, because anti-choice members of the General Assembly thwarted the democratic process they were able to pass two bills that were part of their anti-choice, anti-womens agenda.
The first bill that passed was SB 924, which included an amendment to unfairly target abortion providers with unnecessary regulation and licensure. This was an unprecedented political campaign at the state and federal levels to stigmatize abortion care and undermine womens access to safe, legal reproductive health care services. While we know that the effect of SB 924 will depend on the regulations produced by the Board of Health in September, we trust that the regulations coming out of this process will reflect medicine and not politics, ensuring that thousands of women in the Commonwealth can obtain health care from their trusted provider.
HB 2434, which was originally intended to establish a Virginia health benefits exchange to meet the relevant requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act, was amended by Governor McDonnell and will restrict private health insurance companies from covering abortion services in Virginia's health insurance exchange, except in the cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother.
Virginia has existing laws that already stipulate that state public funds may not be used for abortion. Abortion has to be paid for with private premium dollars only, and those have to be strictly segregated from any federal subsidies being used to buy the insurance policy. This measure will force most insurers to drop abortion coverage to avoid being excluded from an important part of the insurance market. And women needing abortions will have to pay the full cost out-of-pocket, even when their health is in danger and costs are highest.
Finally, Governor McDonnell reintroduced costly funding for ineffective abstinence-only education programs. While the Governor had the opportunity to accept funding for comprehensive, abstinence-based sexuality education, he declined and instead will reinstate abstinence-only funding. This funding requires a match of $4 from the Commonwealth for every $3 received from the federal government, totaling almost $500,000 in services or funds from Virginia. This is particularly egregious given the fact that Virginia is in a budget deficit and many valuable programs are being cut across the board.
Even with these setbacks, we were able to defeat legislation that would eliminate the HPV vaccination mandate for girls entering the 6th grade, attempts to establish personhood from the moment of fertilization, and efforts to make Family Life Education (FLE) an opt-in program instead of the opt-out provision Virginia currently maintains.
As in years past, we introduced common-sense pro-active measures that give women and young people more control over their reproductive lives and their futures. This year, for the first time in years, we were able to move one bill out of the Senate. We introduced legislation that would ensure that ALL school divisions implement FLE education guidelines and that all information be medically accurate. This bill passed the Senate, but was defeated in the House Education committee.
We also introduced legislation that would make it easier for individuals to access treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Unfortunately, this bill was defeated in both House and Senate committees.
We offer our gratitude to our supporters who spent countless hours writing letters and making phone calls their General Assembly members. Our efforts in the General Assembly to protect womens reproductive health would not be possible without your support and activism throughout the year. We thank you!
While under attack on the state level, we've also been hard at work helping to defeat unprecedented attacks on family planning and Planned Parenthood in Congress. As you know, the government narrowly avoided shutdown and certain members of Congress made reproductive health care the sticking point. Both Title X family planning funding and Planned Parenthood funding were publicly and viciously attacked.
However, because of you, we were able to get both Senator Mark Warner and Senator Jim Webb to vote against these attacks. We also were able to draw national attention to Planned Parenthood's lifesaving services, like cervical cancer screenings, breast and annual exams. Take a moment to check out our work and the incredible work done across the country.
While this battle is done, the war on women's health is far from over. Please continue to stay informed, energized, and engaged.
Meaning... the VA General Assembly voted to pass bills that save the lives of the unborn.
Oh, the horror.
It isn’t much of a challenge for them. They have bought and paid for a majority of the one Senate committee that gets to decide on ALL of these bills, so they will NEVER pass.
It took some pretty clever manuevers to get the two bills through that we did. Most of the bills would have received a majority vote in the Senate if they had gotten to the Senate floor.