Committee defeats three Democratic bills intended to protect access to safe, legal abortion


RICHMOND, VA — This morning, in a series of party-line or near-party-line votes, the Senate Committee on Education & Health defeated three Democratic bills that would have repealed or mitigated laws and policies designed to shame women and deny them access to safe, legal abortion. Not only are Senate Republicans’ votes offensive and harmful to women, but they act as a very clear barrier to economic growth by discouraging women from bringing their expertise to the Commonwealth and establishing businesses or raising families.


Sen. Mamie Locke’s (D - Hampton) SB 733 would have repealed Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound law, passed by a Republican-controlled legislature in 2012 in the face of massive protest. Sen. Jennifer Wexton’s (D - Loudoun) SB 920 would have repealed the mandatory waiting period between an ultrasound and an abortion. Sen. Donald McEachin’s (D - Henrico) SB 769 would have enabled women to spend private dollars on private insurance coverage for abortion.


Sen. Locke’s and Sen. McEachin’s bills failed on party-line votes of 8-7. Sen. Wexton’s bill failed on a near-party-line vote of 9-6.


Said Senator Locke, “The issue of medically unnecessary mandatory transabdominal ultrasounds has nothing to do with informed consent -- but rather it has to do with a woman being able to make her own decision. I ask the women of Virginia: do you want me, a political science professor, to make your healthcare decisions for you? Or do you want this to be a decision made between you and your doctor?”


Said Senator Wexton, “Many say that this additional waiting period gives women more time to think -- I would submit that women don’t get abortions on a lark. I guarantee you that by the time a woman picks up the phone she has thought long and hard about her options… Saying that a woman needs more time to think about this information is, frankly, insulting.”


SaidSenator McEachin, “Today we saw big government at its worst. The state has no business telling women that they can’t use private dollars to buy private insurance that covers a safe and legal procedure. Instead of respecting individuals’ right to make their own decisions, Republicans voted for intrusive and senseless government meddling. I am deeply disappointed.”


The Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus supports the legislative, political and electoral endeavors of Virginia Democratic senators.  The caucus does everything it can to help senators carry out their mission to represent all Virginians and pass legislation that reflects Virginia’s mainstream values

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