Virginia’s Congressional Delegation Splits Along Party Lines in Vote to Legally Codify Abortion Rights

People marching for women's rights

Virginia’s congressional delegation split along party lines on a vote to legally codify providers’ right to provide abortions and patients’ right to receive abortions. The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 passed out of the House of Representatives Friday in a 218-211 vote with no Republicans voting for, and no Democrats voting against, although two Republicans and one Democrat did not vote. The bill now faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

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General Assembly Advances Bills That Allow Abortion Coverage in Health Care Plans on Commonwealth Exchange

The House of Delegates has approved SB 1276, a bill that allows abortions to be included in coverage from private insurance companies listed on the commonwealth’s healthcare exchange. On Thursday, the Senate passed a companion bill, HB 1896, 22 to 17.

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Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Groups Support Two Bills Focused on Fetal, Infant and Maternal Health Data

Republican and Democratic legislators don’t often find common ground on pro-life issues in Virginia, but two pro-life bills passed the House of Delegates with unanimous support, and are likely to pass out of the Senate. HB 1950, introduced by lieutenant governor candidate Delegate Hala Ayala (D-Prince William) would develop a plan to create a Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Team in Virginia to collect better data about fetal and infant survival rates. HB 2111, introduced by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), is similar, and establishes a task force to collect data to help create policies focused on improving maternal care. Both bills are now in committee in the Senate.

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Democrats Introduce Two House Bills Expanding Abortion Coverage

Virginia House Democrats have introduced two bills expanding healthcare coverage of abortions. HB 1922, introduced by Delegate Cia Price (D-Newport News) would expand Medicaid abortion coverage and require private employers who offer health coverage to cover abortions. HB 1896, introduced by Delegate Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville), removes a Virginia prohibition of abortion coverage under Obamacare.

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Democrats Considering Bill Forcing Taxpayer-Funded Abortions for 2021 Session

Virginia delegates are evaluating a potential bill for the 2021 regular session that would increase funding for abortions under Medicaid and require individual businesses to include abortions in their insurance plans. A House subcommittee met on Tuesday to discuss House Bill (HB) 1445 and hear public comment on the bill. Planned Parenthood and NARAL representatives offered comment, as well as the Virginia Society for Human Life President Olivia Turner.

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Eight Commonwealth’s Attorneys Pledge to Not Enforce Pro-Life Laws

Eight Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys pledged that they will not enforce any laws criminalizing abortions. The pledge was signed by over 60 prosecutors and state attorneys general and expresses concern over attempts to pass laws limiting abortion. The Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) organization published the pledge on October 14, as Congress holds confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

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Virginia Society of Human Life Fights Potential Right-To-Abortion Amendment

Delegate Kathy Byron (R-Lynchburg) gave an insider’s view of Virginia right-to-life politics at a Zoom fundraiser for the Virginia Society of Human Life (VSHL) on Saturday evening. 100 people tuned in to the event, filling it to capacity. The fundraiser is part of a broader effort within the VSHL to motivate voters for the November election and raise awareness of a likely proposed amendment to Virginia’s constitution coming in 2021.

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