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House subcommittee advances Planned Parenthood defunding; blocks TRAP repeal

On Tuesday, January 31, the House Health, Welfare and Institutions (HWI) Subcommittee #3 heard two two important bills – one to restrict reproductive health care access and one to protect it. They advanced HB 2264, a bill to restrict low-income Virginians’ access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers, while also rejecting HB 1563, a bill to repeal Virginia’s targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) law. The committee voted 4-1 along party lines on both bills.
 
 
Learn more about the bills below and contact your delegate about their votes if they sit on this subcommittee.
 
Members of the House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Subcommittee #3
  • Delegate Richard Bell (R-20), Chair – DelDBell@house.virginia.gov,  phone: (804) 698-1020 - VOTED ANTI-CHOICE (for HB 2264 and against HB 1563)
  • Delegate Robert Orrock (R-54) – DelBOrrock@house.virginia.gov, phone: (804) 698-1054 - VOTED ANTI-CHOICE (for HB 2264 and against HB 1563)
  • Delegate John O'Bannon (R-73) – DelJOBannon@house.virginia.gov, phone: (804) 698-1073 - VOTED ANTI-CHOICE (for HB 2264 and against HB 1563)
  • Delegate T. Scott Garrett (R-23) – DelSGarrett@house.virginia.gov, phone: (804) 698-1023 - VOTED ANTI-CHOICE (for HB 2264 and against HB 1563)
  • Delegate Matthew James (D-80) – DelMJames@house.virginia.gov, phone: (804) 698-1080 - VOTED PRO-CHOICE (against HB 2264 and for HB 1563)

(Anti-Choice Bill): HB 2264, Banning Department of Health Contracts or Grants with Abortion Providers (Defunding Planned Parenthood)

HB2264 represents a blatant attempt to deny Virginia women access to the full range of comprehensive reproductive health care services in order to serve a political anti-abortion agenda. Based on model legislation drafted by a national anti-abortion organization, this bill would prohibit the Virginia Department of Health from granting funds or entering into contracts with certain health care providers that perform abortion. Hospitals that provide abortion have been exempted from this bill, meaning that only health centers like Planned Parenthood are being targeted for politically-motivated disparate treatment.

Planned Parenthood is one of the few remaining providers that continues to offer consistent and reliable care to Medicaid recipients, and importantly, often serves as a crucial entry point into the health care system for these and other individuals. Virginia Planned Parenthood health centers are a trusted provider of contraceptive care to thousands of low-income women each year. Nationally, more than one-third of low-income women who receive publicly supported contraceptives receive care at Planned Parenthood.

Stopping providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving state grants or contracts means cutting off thousands of low-income Virginians from their trusted local provider of affordable health care. It would make it more difficult for low-income Virginians to obtain contraception and other reproductive health care services, likely increasing the number of unintended pregnancies.

(Pro-Choice Bill): HB 1563, Repeal of Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP), introduced by Delegate Kaye Kory

In the 2011 General Assembly session, legislators added last-minute language to a bill aimed at regulating nursing homes that added: "[For the purposes of requirements outlined in §32.1-127], facilities in which five or more first trimester abortions per month are performed shall be classified as a category of "hospital." This singles out first-trimester abortion providers from other outpatient health centers for burdensome, unnecessary hospital-level regulation. This law, known as a "TRAP” law, puts women’s health at risk by forcing affordable outpatient women’s health centers to shut down and cutting off access to reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion.
 
We all share a commitment to ensuring the health and safety of a woman who has decided to have an abortion, but this medically-inappropriate law isn't about that. Since 2011, Virginia medical groups, hundreds of Virginia doctors, and thousands of Virginia residents have voiced their opposition to this law on the basis that it does nothing to further patient health and safety and instead aims to deny access to reproductive health care services, including abortion. On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court declared in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that sham abortion restrictions based on an agenda to cut off access rather than a legitimate medical benefit to patients – like Virginia's TRAP law – are unconstitutional.
 
This bill would repeal that 2011 addition to the code and revert to the medically-appropriate regulation of first-trimester abortion providers alongside similar outpatient doctor's offices and health centers.
 
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