Virginia Governor Vetoes Bill Aiming to Increase Access to Contraception

Aldgra Fredly
By Aldgra Fredly
May 18, 2024US News
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Virginia Governor Vetoes Bill Aiming to Increase Access to Contraception
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin gestures to supporters while arriving at Piney Branch Elementary School in Bristow, Va., on Nov. 7, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Virginia’s Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin vetoed a set of bills on Friday, including legislation that would have further reduced barriers to contraception access in the state of Virginia.

“While I look forward to working with the General Assembly to see if we can reach agreement on language in the future, today I must act on the language before me, and there are several bills which are not ready to become law,” the governor said in a May 17 statement.

One of the bills vetoed by Mr. Youngkin was SB237, which aims to grant Virginians the right to access contraceptives and establishes legal recourse against those who violate this right.

In his veto statement, Mr. Youngkin said this bill “creates an overly broad cause of action against political subdivisions and parents, as well as medical professionals acting in their expert judgment and within their scope of practice.”

The governor also vetoed SB238, which would have required insurers to cover contraceptive drugs under health insurance plans that include coverage for prescription drugs on an outpatient basis.

Mr. Youngkin said that while he supports access to contraception, he noted that “any contraception-related changes must be coupled with robust conscience clause protections for providers and uphold the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning their children’s upbringing and care.”

“Let me be crystal clear: I support access to contraception. However, we cannot trample on the religious freedoms of Virginians,” the governor stated.

“And that is the issue the recommendations I sent back to the General Assembly addressed,” he added. Mr. Youngkin also argued that contraception access was already protected under the Constitution.

The governor’s decision has sparked criticism from several Democrat lawmakers, who called for safeguarding access to contraception in the wake of the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Susan Swecker, chair for the Virginia Democratic Party, said that Mr. Youngkin’s veto “is hurting thousands of people” in Virginia.

“By vetoing this bill, Youngkin just proved to Virginians that once again, he does not care about their health or rights,” Ms. Swecker stated on X.

“Contraception is used to manage a wide variety of health conditions, and by choosing not to protect it, Youngkin is hurting thousands of people,” she added.

Senator Ghazala Hashmi and delegate Marcia Price issued a joint statement condemning the governor’s decision and reaffirming their commitment to bringing back the legislation until it is signed.

“By vetoing our legislation, Governor Youngkin is now on the record agreeing with the extremists in his party—including Donald Trump—who conflate contraception with abortion. This is not the end of our fight,” the statement reads.

From The Epoch Times

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