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Hold Senate Education & Health Committee Accountable for Votes on Abortion Restrictions Bills


Committee chair Senator Steve Newman outside the General Assembly building after the hearing.

On Thursday, January 26, the Senate Education and Health Committee heard two pro-choice bills aimed at relieving Virginia's current intrusive, medically-unnecessary restrictions on abortion access.

More than a dozen Virginians came from around the state to testify in support of these bills ready to talk about how current restrictions are medically-inappropriate and place an unconstitutional burden on a woman who's decided to have an abortion. Committee chair Senator Steve Newman, however, allowed only two minutes of testimony and the bills were then quickly voted down in party line 8-7 votes.

Legislators should hear Virginians out on why the laws they passed restricting abortion access are medically unnecessary, harmful, and unconstitutional.
 
Contact Senator Newman to express your disapproval that he chose not to allow numerous Virginia women and medical experts to testify about the need for important bills SB 1424 and SB 1549.
  • Senator Steve Newman (R-23)'s Richmond office phone: (804) 698-7523
  • Share your name and what area of Virginia you are calling from (note if you are a constituent of his). Express your disapproval that Senator Newman would not allow sufficient time for testimony on SB 1424 and SB 1549, and urge him to allow the committee to appropriately consider bills on abortion and reproductive health care in the future. (See more information on these bills below.)
 
If your Senator is on the committee, you can also see how they voted below and contact them to express your thanks or concern. (If you do not know who your senator is, find out here.)
Voted to stop bills (anti-choice): 
  • Senator Steve Newman (R-23), Chairman, (804) 698-7523
  • Senator Dick Black (R-13), (804) 698-7513
  • Senator Charles Carrico (R-40), (804) 698-7540
  • Senator John Cosgrove (R-14), (804) 698-7514
  • Senator Siobhan Dunnavant (R-12), (804) 698-7512
  • Senator Amanda Chase (R-11), (804) 698-7511
  • Senator David Suetterlein (R-19), (804) 698-7519
  • Senator Mark Peake (R-22), (804) 698-7522 
 
Voted to advance bills (pro-choice):
  • Senator Richard Saslaw (D-35), (804) 698-7535
  • Senator Louise Lucas (D-18), (804) 698-7518
  • Senator Janet Howell (D-32), (804) 698-7532
  • Senator Mamie Locke (D-2) (patron of SB 1424), (804) 698-7502
  • Senator George Barker (D-39), (804) 698-7539
  • Senator Chap Petersen (D-34), (804) 698-7534
  • Senator Lynwood Lewis (D-6), (804) 698-7506
About these bills:
Virginia law currently imposes multiple restrictions on abortion access that are based not on medical evidence or need, but on a political agenda to make abortion as difficult and burdensome to access as possible. Both SB 1424 and SB 1549 would restore medical decision-making to a woman and her health care provider and make sure policy around abortion is based on providing a medical benefit, in accordance with the Supreme Court's 2016 decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt.  

  • The Act to Restore Dignity to Informed Consent, SB 1424, introduced by Senator Locke, would give patients back their right to true informed consent and decision-making authority around abortion. After receiving medically-appropriate information and care from her provider, this bill would give a woman the option to waive the non-medical, ideological portions of the current state requirements. This includes allowing a woman to waive the state-mandated ultrasound followed by a forced 24-hour delay before having an abortion. A woman should know that her doctor is giving her accurate, relevant information and care that is based on medical best practices. She should not be required against her will to face additional delays, procedures, or state-written scripts that exist for no other reason than to show the government disapproves of her decision.
  • The Whole Woman's Health Act, SB 1549, introduced by Senator Wexton, would repeal current state restrictions that impede access to abortion without providing a legitimate medical benefit to patients, in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court's 2016 ruling in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. This includes repealing state-mandated, non-medical informed consent procedures and the targeted regulation of outpatient abortion providers as a category of hospital. This Whole Woman's Health Act reflects the fact that laws restricting abortion access based on a political agenda rather than on medical necessity actually harm the very women they purport to protect.
 
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