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Virginia Governor Vetoes Bill Cutting Funding to Planned Parenthood

Feb. 21, 2017

While Michigan lawmakers push for similar legislation

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have slashed funding to Planned Parenthood, while lawmakers in Michigan are pushing similar legislation forward.

On Tuesday, McAuliffe vetoed the bill, which passed the state’s Republican-controlled Senate and House of Delegates earlier this month. The bill would have prevented the Virginia Department of Health from providing funds to clinics that provide abortion services to women that are not covered by Medicaid,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“It’s time that our General Assembly understands that we have a responsibility to protect the rights and dignity of women,” McAuliffe said at a press conference, according to the Hill. “Without access to reproductive care and the freedom to exercise choice, women are denied the choice to make deeply personal health decisions.”

The Hyde Amendment prevents federal funding from being used to cover abortions except in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother is in danger. The Virginia Department of Health currently has a contract with Planned Parenthood to provide testing for sexually transmitted infections, according to the Richmond-Times Dispatch. Last year, the organization performed 1,700 tests to low-income women in the state.

“We are proud to have a Governor in Virginia who stands with the women of our Commonwealth,” Paulette McElwain, the president and CEO of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, said in a statement released after McAuliffe vetoed the bill. “[He]understands how vitally important access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare provided by Planned Parenthood is for women.”

In Michigan, lawmakers introduced legislation that would eliminate state contracts with Planned Parenthood, Michigan Radio, an affiliate of NPR, reported. Planned Parenthood provides family planning services, breast exams and cancer screenings at 20 locations in the state, according to Michigan Radio.