RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/AP) – On Tuesday, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed House Bill 1090, which seeks to block state funding for Planned Parenthood.
“We’re here today to smack down the latest attack on women’s health care rights,” declared the Governor.
Planned Parenthood provides thousands of Virginians with reproductive health care including STI testing, sex education and family planning, the organization says.
HB 1090 would force the state to cut off funds for organizations that offer abortions that are not eligible for matching funds under Medicaid. This would include any abortion outside of cases of rape, incest, or “gross fetal anomalies.” The Virginia Department of Health does not fund abortions for any reason outside of the Medicaid exceptions.
If the bill had been enacted, 1,300 people in the Richmond area could have lost access to STI testing, according to Planned Parenthood.
“Without us, they have nowhere else to go,” explains Planned Parenthood President and CEO Paulette McElwain, “They don’t have health insurance. We didn’t do Medicaid expansion. They have no where else to go.”
Supporters of the measure say the bill is needed to ensure state funds continue not to be used for elective abortions.
Republican Del. Ben Cline said in a statement that McAuliffe is listening to his friends in the “abortion lobby,” rather than “ensuring women have access to quality care.”
Republicans likely don’t have enough votes to overturn the veto.
McAuliffe was joined at the event Tuesday by lawmakers and advocates. He said it’s “no secret that this bill is aimed at destroying Planned Parenthood.”
Protestors outside of Planned Parenthood’s Richmond Health Center carried signs.
Jen Hanrahan brought most of her nine children. She believes life is a “beautiful choice.”
Hanrahan argues her tax dollars shouldn’t pay for abortions.
“We would like the money to go to women’s health clinics that actually do provide necessary healthcare, not just abortions,” she says.
Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, released a statement Tuesday, which read in part:
Every day, hundreds of Virginians come to Planned Parenthood health centers across the Commonwealth to receive high quality, low cost care. Through the Governor’s actions today, those patients can feel confident that they can continue to receive care, no matter what.”
Capital News Service, a student-operated news reporting program sponsored by the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University, contributed to this story.