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GOVERNOR MCDONNELL PLANS BEHIND-THE-SCENES ABORTION BAN
After months of calling for a commonsense focus on jobs, transportation, and education, Governor Bob McDonnell is now quietly developing an amendment to further restrict Virginia women’s health, rights, and access to safe, legal abortion.
According to a McDonnell spokesperson, the Governor is planning on offering amendments to H.B.1900 and S.B.921, legislation to implement the Virginia health insurance exchange as set out under the Affordable Care Act. These amendments are likely to mirror an amendment offered by Governor McDonnell in 2011, also attached to a health-insurance exchange bill, which prohibits private health-insurance plans participating in the new exchange from including coverage for abortion – coverage that currently exists in nearly 90 percent of plans sold in the private market. The 2011 amendment also prohibits women from purchasing separate policy riders with their own private money.
Caroline O’Shea, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, issued the following statement regarding the governor's proposed amendment:
"It is unacceptable that Governor McDonnell is attempting to hold health care legislation hostage in order to further his agenda of intruding in Virginia women’s personal medical decisions. Despite the governor’s outward focus on other issues this session, it is obvious that his attacks on reproductive rights and health-care access are alive and well behind the scenes. With this latest action, Governor McDonnell and his anti-choice allies once again reveal their true political intentions: intrude in personal medical decisions and erode access to vital reproductive-health care in our state.
The governor’s amendment seeks to take away the coverage for abortion care that is currently included in the vast majority of Virginians’ private insurance plans. Virginia law already restricts abortion access for women who get their health insurance through the government, but now Governor McDonnell wants to expand this intrusion into private insurance as well.
Virginia women deserve access to safe, legal health care for themselves and their families. Banning abortion coverage will further restrict critical access to health care for Virginian women and will only result in dangerous, medically unsafe outcomes. It is outrageous that Governor McDonnell would jeopardize women’s health in the name of an ideological crusade. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and our thousands of member activists will do everything we can to fight this invasive and dangerous amendment.”