NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Condemns McDonnell’s Latest Attack on Women’s Health

Gov. McDonnell’s newly proposed amendment will restrict Virginia women’s ability to purchase abortion coverage with private dollars

Late last night, Governor Bob McDonnell submitted an amendment to both HB 1900 and SB921, legislation to implement the Virginia health benefits exchange as set out under the Affordable Care Act. McDonnell’s amendment prohibits Virginians participating in the new health exchange from purchasing any insurance plan that includes coverage for abortion – coverage that currently exists as a standard benefit in nearly 90 percent of private plans sold in the U.S.

If passed by the General Assembly, this extreme measure will block thousands of women from purchasing affordable and comprehensive health care with their own private dollars, and could rob many Virginians of benefits they currently possess through their private health care plans.

Caroline O’Shea, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, strongly condemned McDonnell’s abortion ban amendment:

"With this amendment, Governor McDonnell is once again attempting to intrude in women’s health care decisions and block Virginians access to the critical medical care they need. Coverage for safe, legal abortion care - a procedure an estimated one in three women will access in their lifetimes - is a basic benefit that most insurance plans currently include. By banning women from using their own funds to purchase plans that include this common benefit, Governor McDonnell is restricting Virginians’ personal economic decisions as well as their access to comprehensive care.

State employees and other Virginians who get their health insurance through the government already have their coverage for abortion care unfairly restricted – but that’s not enough for Governor McDonnell. He wants to extend this intrusion into the lives of women with private insurance as well.

The Affordable Care Act is intended to help thousands of uninsured or underinsured Virginians find and purchase affordable health insurance coverage. But thanks to Gov. McDonnell, thousands of Virginia women could find their coverage slashed – not enhanced. It is outrageous that, like Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s ongoing crusade against coverage for affordable contraception (a fight he infamously deemed worthy of going to jail over), Governor McDonnell’s amendment would restrict private economic interactions in order to advance an extreme anti-choice agenda. With this move, Gov. McDonnell is extending the heavy hand of government even further – beyond women’s bedrooms and into their wallets.

If Virginians had somehow forgotten about Governor McDonnell’s outright contempt for women’s rights and personal decision-making, this attack on private coverage for abortion will certainly remind them.”

Governor McDonnell’s abortion coverage ban amendment will go before the General Assembly when the veto session begins on April 3rd.

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Contact:
Alena Yarmosky
Communications Manager
240-595-2972
alena@naralva.org
 
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