BY NIDHI SHARMA
THE CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE
Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill Tuesday that would restrict spending related to abortion or family planning by the Virginia Department of Health.
The bill, HB224, was introduced by Del. Ben Cline (R-Amherst) and Del. Dave LaRock (R-Loudon) and passed the House 60-33. It also passed the Senate 20-19.
Sen. Steve Newman (R-Bedford) spoke in support of the bill during session.
“This bill in particular indicates that if an organization is providing abortion services beyond that which Medicaid currently pays for, that the commonwealth will not pay for any of the services that that organization provides – whether they are abortion services or other services.” Newman said.
This would mean that organizations such as Planned Parenthood could lose funding for not only abortion services, but also for birth control and safe sex services.
Sen. Barbara A. Favola (D-Arlington) emphasized that the bill would also prevent Planned Parenthood from providing screening for sexually transmitted diseases, calling them a public health issue.
Favola implored the Senate to vote no during session.
“I ask us, please, please to put aside our desire to absolutely control reproductive health choices, and look at this from a public policy view,” she said. “In many cases, these are the only places women can go to get these screenings.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, untreated chlamydial infection has been linked to problems during pregnancy, including preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes and low birth weight — exposed newborns can even develop eye and lung infections.
The CDC also notes that Hepatitis B passed from mother to child causes a 25% chance of death from chronic liver disease, syphilis has been linked to premature births, stillbirths and in some cases, death shortly after birth – and of course, a baby born with HIV passed on from its mother is born with a disease that has no effective cure.
“What we’re doing is endangering the health of thousands of Virginia citizens, we are endangering family planning and contraceptive services to thousands of women annually, and we are depriving low-income patients from essentially inaccessible health services, all to make the political point of interfering in women’s reproductive health care choices,” said Sen. Mamie Locke, (D-Hampton)