Advocates Thank Countless Champions in the Senate and House for Paving the Way for the Reproductive Health Protection Act to Pass Today 

Richmond, Virginia—Today, the Reproductive Health Protection Act (SB733) passed on the Senate floor, bringing us one step closer to securing a future that upholds Virginians’ basic reproductive freedoms by finally rolling back the medically unnecessary and onerous restrictions on abortion care designed to block patients from getting the healthcare they need. Virginia is on its way to becoming a place that respects a person’s ability to make their own personal healthcare decisions, free from political interference, and today advocates want to thank the countless Virginia women in the state Senate and House of Delegates who have paved the way in achieving today’s victory by boldly and consistently championing reproductive freedom legislation over the years.

Virginia State Senators:

  • Senator Caucus Chair Mamie Locke has carried numerous reproductive health, rights, and justice bills including the Reproductive Health Equity Act in 2020 and the Reproductive Health Services Act of 2019. 
  • During her time as both a Delegate and state Senator, Senator Jennifer McClellan has sponsored vital pro-choice legislation including the Reproductive Health Protect the Repro Equal Access Law of 2019 and the Reproductive Freedom Act of 2018. 
  • Since elected to the General Assembly in 2013, Senator Jennifer Boysko has championed many meaningful reproductive health and rights bills including the Reproductive Health Act of 2019, the Reproductive Health Equity Act of 2018, and the Whole Woman’s Health Act of 2017.  
  • In 2017 and 2018, Senator Barbara Favola introduced legislation that would have prevented abortion clinics from being unfairly singled out by sponsoring bills to rollback the Targeted Restrictions Against Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws.

Virginia House of Delegates:

  • Majority Leader Delegate Herring is currently the chief sponsor of the Reproductive Health Protection Act that passed on the House floor on Tuesday, January 28th. In 2019, she sponsored the Reproductive Freedom Act.
  • In 2019, Reproductive champion Delegate Kathy Tran was the co-sponsor of the Repro Equal Access Law, which sought to rollback medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers. 
  • In 2016, Delegate Jeion Ward carried the Repeal Ultrasound Requirement for Abortion bill, aimed to overturn anti-abortion restrictions, such as the forced ultrasound requirement.
  • In 2017, Delegate Kay Kory sponsored a bill to overturn the Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws that unfairly singled out abortion providers.
  • In 2020, Delegate Cia Price sponsored the Reproductive Health Equity Act which would ensure all Virginians, regardless of race, income, immigration status or gender identity have access to the full spectrum of reproductive health services.
  • In 2020, Delegate Watts sponsored the Birth Control Protection Act which defines birth control in the Virginia Legal Code. The legislation recently passed the House of Delegates and was introduced by Watts for the last four sessions and by other women in prior sessions. 

“Even when we did not have a pro-choice majority General Assembly, these reproductive health and rights champions in both the state Senate and House of Delegates refused to sit idly by while Virginian’s reproductive rights were being threatened,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “Instead, these reproductive rights champions, sponsored trailblazing legislation, spoke out against anti-abortion restrictions, and made it clear that Virginians must have the ability to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions. Today, we thank them for boldly and consistently championing reproductive health and rights legislation, paving the way for 2020 to be the year the House and the state Senate finally voted to pass proactive reproductive rights legislation.”

Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia said, “Every step our delegates and senators have taken to advance the Reproductive Health Protection Act has brought Virginians one step closer to accessing the care they need and deserve without political interference. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia know that the individuals seeking reproductive health care across the Commonwealth, including abortion, deserve to do so with dignity and without delay. There is more work to do, and we are proud of the work our champions have done.”

“We are so grateful to all of the champions for reproductive health care who have stood by and worked year after year to ensure that everyone in our communities has the ability to choose whether, how, and when to start a family,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “It is thanks to them that we are able to pass this bill today to eliminate the medically unnecessary restrictions to abortion access that were created by anti-reproductive health conservatives. Now everyone in Virginia will be able to access the care they need when they need it.”

“We would like to thank the legislators in the House and Senate for voting on the side of bodily autonomy and reproductive rights,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance. “Virginians accessing abortion will no longer have to jump through unnecessary hurdles to receive compassionate abortion care.”

Background: 

The Reproductive Health Protection Act will remove political interference between a patient and their doctor and get rid of the medically unnecessary restrictions for a patient seeking access to safe and legal abortion.

This bill will rollback: 

    •  Requiring patients to undergo a forced, medically unnecessary ultrasound.
    • The 24-hour mandatory delay, which often stretches for far longer.
    •  State-based biased counseling.
    • The requirement that blocks qualified Advanced Practice Clinicians (APC) from providing abortion care early in pregnancy, despite their rigorous post-graduate training and extensive clinical experience.
    •  The Targeted Restrictions of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, that unfairly single out abortion providers – mandating that providers providing 5 or more abortions per month be treated as a type of hospital
  • Since 2011, anti-abortion politicians in Virginia have introduced over 170 medically unnecessary abortion bills and regulations that have politically interferred between a woman and her doctor. 
  • 92 percent of Virginia localities have no abortion clinic at all.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 Virginians believe that abortion care should remain safe, legal and accessible. 
  • 85 percent of Virginians believe abortion should remain legal. 

This bill would roll back the medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access put in place by anti-choice politicians that have no basis in medicine or patient health and safety. This includes overturning the forced, medically unnecessary ultrasound requirement, the 24-hour mandatory delay, which often stretches for far longer, and the state-based mandated biased counseling. It also includes rolling back the Targeted Restrictions of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, that unfairly single out abortion providers and the restriction that blocks qualified Advanced Practice Clinicians (APC) from providing abortion early in pregnancy, despite their rigorous post-graduate training and extensive clinical experience.

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