RICHMOND- The Reproductive Rights Caucus, Democratic House and Senate members, and the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition presented their legislative priorities for the 2013 legislative session at a joint press conference this morning.
Minority Leader Delegate Toscano and Senator Barbara Favola led the opening remarks to a packed House Briefing Room.
Senator Mark Herring (D-Loudoun & Fairfax) said, “In 2011, the Republicans did real damage to Virginia’s women by passing burdensome regulations on health care centers that provide services to thousands of women across the Commonwealth,” Herring stated.
“Now that the damage is done, they say they don’t want to discuss these issues again. Well, we don’t accept that. We are going to fight to fix what they have done,” Herring added.
Senator Northam and Delegate Kory spoke about their legislation to repeal the mandatory ultrasound requirement.
“Last year, a group of legislators, most of whom were men, passed legislation forcing women have an unnecessary and expensive ultrasound. We learned about transvaginal ultrasound on the floor of the Senate, and our state was embarrassed around the nation. Today, I am introducing legislation to repeal the ultrasound law and return this sacred, personal decision to women and their physicians,” stated Senator Northam.
Delegate Kory added, “There is no medical necessity for mandating an abdominal ultrasound prior a woman choosing an abortion. Women must be trusted to make their own decisions about their health and their bodies.”
Delegate Watts presented the Birth Control Protection Act, HB 1644, that she will be carry in the House of Delegates.
“This Birth Control Protection Act makes it clear that using birth control is not considered an abortion. This medically sound, common sense legislation will protect the rights of Virginia women against repeated efforts to ban access to birth control,” said Delegate Watts. “Women and men who are able to plan their pregnancies enjoy brighter economic prospects. Their children benefit from the increased time and resources available for their nurturing.”
Delegate McClellan stated that Democrats in the House and Senate will stand united to defeat any Republican attempts to limit or restrict a woman’s ability to access quality, affordable reproductive health care.
“Already, Republicans have introduced legislation to restrict access to health care when a pregnancy goes horribly wrong, restrict access to contraception, and interfere in the doctor patient relationship by requiring doctors to inquire into the motives behind a medical procedure. Government has no place in these decisions, which should be left to a woman, her family, her faith, and her doctor. Democrats will fight these efforts to restrict a woman’s health care decisions and access to care,” said Delegate McClellan.