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Augusta Free Press: Planned Parenthood condemns defeat of measures protecting access to reproductive healthcare Print

Created:  Friday, January 30, 2015 10:27PM


This afternoon, members of the House of Delegates Courts of Justice Constitutional Law subcommittee defeated two critical measures that would have reduced barriers to obtaining comprehensive reproductive health care in Virginia.

Introduced by Delegate Jeion Ward, HB1524 would have rescinded the 2012 law mandating women undergoing an abortion to have an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to her procedure– regardless of what her doctor thinks is medically appropriate for the individual patient. A companion measure was defeated in the Senate Education and Health committee yesterday.

"We are deeply disappointed by today's vote on repealing the 2012 mandatory ultrasound law. We believe that information should support a woman, help her make a decision for herself, and enable her to take care of her health and well-being. Information should not be provided with the intent of coercing, shaming, or judging a woman," said Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia Executive Director Cianti Stewart-Reid. "The bottom line is that a woman, not politicians, should make her own decisions when it comes to her own pregnancy."

HB2287, patroned by Delegate Patrick Hope, was introduced in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. HB2287 would have guaranteed Virginia employees the ability to make personal reproductive health care decisions – including the decision to access contraception – without fear of reprisal from their employers. The measure would not force employers to purchase a certain kind of insurance, cover certain services, or be involved in conversations about reproductive health care with employees. Instead, the bill was about simple fairness.

"Employers do not belong in a woman's personal medical decisions and should not be able to discriminate because of their own personal beliefs. People should be judged at work by their performance, not based on their personal, private health care decisions," said Stewart-Reid.