Photosynthesis » ACLU-VA Women's Rights and Reproductive Freedom’s Portfolio

11 bills are being tracked.

Budget Bill. (HB1400)

Patron: Del. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk)
Status: approved

The ACLU of Virginia strongly opposes Budget Amendments 4-5.04 2h and 4-5.04 5h, which repeal funding for Medicaid-eligible women who seek abortion after a physician certifies in writing that the fetus has an incapacitating physical or mental anomaly. By holding back healthcare assistance funds from women who qualify for them, politicians are to attempting to control women’s healthcare decisions just because they disagree with some women’s decisions. This is wrong – a woman’s healthcare decisions must be left to her and her doctor. Medicaid-eligible women in Virginia should not face limited reproductive healthcare options just because they are poor. Though we can each have different personal feelings about abortion, it’s not okay for some politicians to withhold health care assistance funds from women who qualify for them. We can use the resources our Commonwealth has to make sure that each woman is truly able to make a real decision about whether to have an abortion.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

Reports of substance abuse by a pregnant woman; child-protective services. (HB1456)

Patron: Del. Les Adams (R-Chatham)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly opposes this bill because it prevents women from receiving the healthcare they need and does not promote healthy pregnancies. Policies that threaten women with the loss of their children drive women away from health care and discourage them from seeking invaluable prenatal and pregnancy-related care. To best promote healthy pregnancies, we should provide pregnant women easy access to comprehensive family-based treatment programs so they may get the help they need. Several major medical groups oppose punishment of pregnant women and recognize that drug dependency is a medical condition that responds to appropriate treatment.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

Justice for Victims of Sterilization Act; established, sunset provision. (HB1504)

Patron: Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this bill because it compensates victims of the shameful practice of forced sterilization. Virginia’s legal sterilization program was enacted into law in 1924 – the same year the legislature adopted the Racial Integrity Act that prohibited interracial marriages. It is estimated that between 7,200 and 8,300 people were sterilized in Virginia from 1927-1979 because they were deemed by society at the time to be unworthy or unfit to procreate. In most cases, the individuals were “patients” at state mental institutions who were sent there because of alleged mental illness, physical deformity, “feeble-mindedness,” or simply because they were homeless. Twenty-two percent of the individuals sterilized were African Americans (about equal to the population in the state at the time) and two-thirds were women. Many of those sterilized were not even told they were being sterilized, but instead given some other explanation for their operation. We wholeheartedly support the effort to compensate victims of the state’s forced sterilization law.

One person has commented on this bill »

Ultrasound prior to abortion. (HB1524)

Patron: Del. Jeion Ward (D-Hampton)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this legislation because the mandatory ultrasound law is intended to shame, judge, and make a woman change her mind by requiring doctors to provide the woman with the option to view the ultrasound image and hear the heartbeat. Requiring an ultrasound before abortion is about political interference, not informed consent. Information should not be provided with the intent or result of shaming, judging, or making a woman change her mind, and health care decisions are best made by a woman and her doctor, not politicians.

One person has commented on this bill »

Reproductive health care; adverse action against employee by employers prohibited. (HB2287)

Patron: Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this bill. In 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. For the first time in history, the Court held that closely held corporations with religious objections cannot be required to provide birth control coverage for their employees, and that business owners can force their personal religious beliefs on their employees. This bill ensures that, regardless of an employer’s personal beliefs, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee because of an employee’s reproductive health care decisions, including the decision to access birth control. Private decision making about birth control and other reproductive health care decisions should be left to a woman and her doctor, not her boss or a politician. Religious liberty means the right to hold and preach your beliefs, but not to impose them on others.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

Virginia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; created, penalty. (HB2321)

Patron: Del. Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly opposes this bill because it poses a serious threat to women’s health, ignoring women’s health needs and individual circumstances, and seeking to ban abortions at twenty weeks gestation, with only the most narrow of exceptions. This bill is blatantly unconstitutional, prohibiting abortions when the Supreme Court has held that states may not do so and failing to protect women’s health. The bill is meant as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, could lead to an expensive and prolonged legal battle for Virginia. Additionally, this bill would impose severe criminal and civil penalties on physicians for providing women with abortions necessary to preserve their health. A woman’s doctor must be able to provide the care she needs for her health, and criminal and civil penalties prevent the doctor from providing that care. Every pregnant woman’s circumstances are different and many things can go wrong in a pregnancy. A woman seeking an abortion in that circumstance may be facing an extremely complicated pregnancy and must have every medical option — including ending the pregnancy — available to her to consider in consultation with their doctor. The very narrow, limited exceptions in this bill would not permit abortions even in situations where one might be medically necessary. We may not all feel the same way about abortion, but we can agree that these are personal, private decisions between a woman and her doctor. Even if we disagree about abortion, it is better that each person can make her own decision. Politicians should not interfere in a woman’s personal, private medical decisions.

There are 2 comments about this bill »

Abortion; requirement for ultrasound. (SB733)

Patron: Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this legislation because the mandatory ultrasound law is intended to shame, judge, and make a woman change her mind by requiring doctors to provide the woman with the option to view the ultrasound image and hear the heartbeat. Requiring an ultrasound before abortion is about political interference, not informed consent. Information should not be provided with the intent or result of shaming, judging, or making a woman change her mind, and health care decisions are best made by a woman and her doctor, not politicians.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

Health insurance; essential health benefits, abortion coverage. (SB769)

Patron: Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia supports this bill because it repeals a 2013 amendment by Governor McDonnell to HB1900 that prohibits insurance policies offered in the health exchange from covering abortion. It’s wrong for politicians to take away insurance coverage for a legal medical procedure. Since insurance companies are willing to provide coverage, politicians shouldn’t interfere. Politicians should not be able to stop private insurance companies that want to cover abortion from doing so. We may not all feel the same way about abortion, but we should all agree that a woman who decides she needs an abortion deserves access to safe and legal medical care. A woman and her doctor should decide what care she needs, not politicians.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

Budget Bill. (SB800)

Patron: Sen. Chuck Colgan (D-Manassas)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly opposes Budget Amendment 4-5.04 #1s, which repeals funding for Medicaid-eligible women who seek abortion after a physician certifies in writing that the fetus has an incapacitating physical or mental anomaly. By holding back healthcare assistance funds from women who qualify for them, politicians are to attempting to control women’s healthcare decisions just because they disagree with some women’s decisions. This is wrong – a woman’s healthcare decisions must be left to her and her doctor. Medicaid-eligible women in Virginia should not face limited reproductive healthcare options just because they are poor. Though we can each have different personal feelings about abortion, it’s not okay for some politicians to withhold health care assistance funds from women who qualify for them. We can use the resources our Commonwealth has to make sure that each woman is truly able to make a real decision about whether to have an abortion.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

Abortion; removes specific time frame for performance of ultrasound, informed consent. (SB920)

Patron: Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg)
Status: failed committee

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this bill because the mandatory ultrasound law is intended to shame, judge, and make a woman change her mind by requiring doctors to provide the woman with the option to view the ultrasound image and hear the heartbeat. Requiring an ultrasound before abortion is about political interference, not informed consent. Information should not be provided with the intent or result of shaming, judging, or making a woman change her mind, and health care decisions are best made by a woman and her doctor, not politicians. The requirement that women must wait 24-hours before receiving an abortion after their ultrasound causes a heavy burden on women who must travel at least twice to their abortion provider, find child care, pay for lodging, and miss work. The hoops established by the 24-hour mandate highlight how mandatory ultrasound laws are not about informed consent, but about restricting access to abortion.

Be the first to comment on this bill »

Prescription contraceptives; insurance policies to cover. (SB1277)

Patron: Sen. George Barker (D-Alexandria)
Status: failed committee

This bill protects Virginian’s access to birth control in the event the Supreme Court or Congress overturns the federal rule that requires new health insurance plans to cover birth control. Without the federal rule in place, such coverage is offered only as an option in Virginia. The ACLU strongly supports this legislation because birth control coverage is a breakthrough for women’s health and access to birth control is a critical factor in ensuring a woman’s ability to participate equally and fully in civic, economic, and political life.

Be the first to comment on this bill »