Virginia state legislators will likely be voting tomorrow on a host of budget amendments proposed by Governor Bob McDonnell — including one which would ban the use of Medicaid funding for abortion services in the cases of severe fetal abnormality or for the health of the woman.
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has sent an alert to activists calling on them to contact their state legislators about the vote tomorrow.
This dangerous amendment was previously rejected in the General Assembly, indicating that Governor McDonnell has failed to listen to the commonsense decision of the commonwealth’s legislators.
If this amendment is approved, low-income women will have no option when it comes to situations of imminent fetal demise or deformity or when the health of the woman is gravely jeopardized. Federal law already prohibits any Medicaid money from being used for elective abortion services – and there is no known violation of this law. This amendment targets a small, but significant group of women who seek abortion care due to fetal abnormality, imminent fetal demise, and/or their own severe health implications.
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Since 2007, only 15 women in Virginia who receive Medicaid were granted funding for the procedure based on these circumstances, indicating that this funding is only granted when the need is truly dire.
All women should have access to reproductive-health care regardless of their economic status, but discriminatory restrictions on public funding make abortion services an unavailable choice for many low-income women. Banning public funding for certain services limits reproductive-health options for those who rely on the government for their health care, putting women’s health in danger and inserting politicians into the doctor-patient relationship. This budget action is clearly an attempt to curb access to care for women in the most desperate of circumstances.
Most women welcome pregnancy and can look forward to safe childbirth in the U.S.; however, for some, pregnancy can be dangerous, and abortion restrictions that do not contain exceptions to protect women’s health endanger these women.
Please vote against this dangerous amendment on Wednesday. The women and families of Virginia are counting on you.