NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia
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Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

Women’s health advocates caution that veto highlights need for progressive wins in November

Richmond, VA – This morning Governor Terry McAuliffe formally vetoed HB 2264, which would prevent the Department of Health from entering into contracts with or providing funds to women’s health clinics that also provide abortions. The bill, introduced by Del. Ben Cline (R-24), effectively defunded Planned Parenthood.

Speaking to a large crowd of reproductive health advocates, Governor McAuliffe made a clear connection between a woman's health and economic prosperity. "Our economy is strong because we treat everybody with dignity and respect," he said. "It's important for women to have access to quality healthcare for their lives and the good of the commonwealth."

Today’s veto marks the second year in a row that Governor McAuliffe has rejected a bill designed to defund Virginia Planned Parenthood health centers that provide essential healthcare services to low-income women. He made a point of calling out the importance of his role in vetoing bills like HB 2264. "Let it be lost on no one why I am doing this veto in front of the Governor's mansion," said Governor McAuliffe. "This mansion is the brick wall to protect women's health in Virginia."

"We are so grateful for Governor McAuliffe’s veto this morning. Throughout his term, Governor McAuliffe has carried through on his promise to be a ‘brick wall’ to stop attacks on reproductive health and rights. That wall has been solid,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. "Virginia women have made it clear that we want our reproductive rights protected and expanded, and today the governor made it clear that he hears us and is with us.”

Tens of thousands of Virginia women and men rely on Planned Parenthood for basic healthcare services, and the bill would have drastically limited options for rural women and those who rely on Medicaid. HB 2264 passed the House and Senate despite heavy opposition from hundreds of reproductive freedom advocates, several of whom staged a silent protest during the House vote by standing up in the gallery in t-shirts that spelled out ‘We are watching’ – a nod to the upcoming November elections.

"We knew we could count on Governor McAuliffe to veto this bill,” said Keene. "But next year we’ll have a new governor, and a new lieutenant governor and attorney general. This veto is a reminder of exactly how much is on the line in Virginia this November. If we lose the executive mansion, we could lose a woman’s right to make healthcare decisions that are best for her, including when and if to start a family. Today we celebrate, but tomorrow we are back to work.”

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