In case there has ever been any doubt, anti-choice politicians in Virginia have revealed their true agenda by making changes to the state budget that gut programs that help some of the most vulnerable, low-income women and families across the Commonwealth.

Today, Governor Northam vetoed another attempt to gut Virginia’s new Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs) pilot program for patients whose income is below 250% of the federal poverty level. LARCs are the most effective forms of birth control and proven to directly decrease unplanned pregnancies. It is entirely hypocritical that politicians would choose to diminish this pro-woman, pro-family healthcare initiative that aims to support Virginians in deciding when and whether to expand their families.

Furthermore, we are incredibly disappointed, but not surprised that anti-abortion politicians in Virginia have slashed funding for the most vulnerable, low-income women in Virginia, who find themselves facing the tragic news that their pregnancy has been diagnosed with a “gross and totally incapacitating” fetal anomaly. This funding is solely allocated for Medicaid-eligible pregnant women who have been diagnosed with a “gross and totally incapacitating” fetal anomaly following an extensive review and approval process by several medical professionals at the Virginia Department of Health. Without access to this essential funding, a low-income woman facing a complex medical condition is deprived of safe, compassionate, and vital healthcare based solely on her economic circumstance.

As a physician, Governor Northam understands all too well the need for this healthcare program especially for Virginia’s most vulnerable families.

“The General Assembly’s action is cruel and out of touch with the difficult reality some families face.
While the General Assembly has prohibited the use of state resources to deliver a critical service for Virginia families, I am hopeful that other medical providers in the Commonwealth are able to accommodate families in need” – Governor Ralph Northam.

“Unfortunately, the current anti-choice majority of the General Assembly prefers to play politics with women’s health and lives and this is a grim reminder of what their real agenda truly is – to shut off access to needed abortion care and punish women,” said Tarina Keene, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “We thank Governor Northam for his continued leadership on reproductive freedom and doing all he could to preserve access to reproductive healthcare, despite roadblocks by an anti-abortion-controlled legislature. We know that the overwhelming majority of Virginians – 72% – trust women to make their own personal, private healthcare decisions without interference from politicians. Come November, Virginians will have to decide whether to accept a legislature that wants to control their personal decisions and destinies or one that respects their bodily autonomy and basic human dignity. And starting today, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia will work tirelessly to prioritize holding legislators accountable who do not respect and value Virginian’s reproductive freedoms and will elect the ones who do.”

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