RICHMOND — Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed legislation Tuesday that
sought to remove state and federal funding for women’s health providers such as
Planned Parenthood and any other groups that perform abortions in Virginia.
In this veto statement, McAuliffe said the bill, HB 2264, “would
harm tens of thousands of Virginians who rely on the health care services and
programs provided by Planned Parenthood health centers, by denying them access
to affordable care.”
Planned Parenthood held a veto ceremony on the steps of the
Governor’s Mansion. According to the organization, more than 22,000 people in
Richmond, Hampton, Virginia Beach, Charlottesville, and Roanoke rely on Planned
Parenthood for health care, including cancer screenings, birth control, testing
for and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, well-woman exams and legal
“We are proud to have a governor in Virginia who stands with the
women of our commonwealth,” said Paulette McElwain, president and CEO of the
Virginia League for Planned Parenthood. She said McAuliffe “understands how
vitally important access to comprehensive reproductive health care provided by
Planned Parenthood is for women.”
Pro-life activists lined the steps of the Governor’s Mansion
bearing signs reading “All Lives Matter” and “Say No to Planned Parenthood.” In
a press release, the Family Foundation of Virginia rejected the assertion that
women would no longer have access to health care if the bill had been enacted.
The foundation said the legislation would have redirected
non-Medicaid taxpayer funding from organizations that provide abortions to
hospitals and health centers that provide more comprehensive services for
“Nothing in Virginia right now is more predictable than Terry
McAuliffe doing all that he can to ensure that taxpayers are forced to prop up
the abortion industry,” said Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation.
“If there’s one issue on which Gov. McAuliffe has been ideologically rigid, it
is his unwavering support and protection of the same $1 billion abortion
industry that contributed nearly $2 million to his election.”
Del. Ben Cline, R-Amherst, sponsored HB 2264. He introduced
identical legislation in the General Assembly’s 2016 session. Last year’s bill
passed both the House and the Senate but was vetoed by McAuliffe. The House
fell one vote short of overriding the governor’s veto.
HB 2264 passed the House 60-33 on Feb. 7 and the Senate 20-19 on
For women’s rights advocates, McAuliffe’s veto comes as a relief.
Republicans would have to muster a two-thirds majority in each chamber – 67
votes in the House and 27 in the Senate – to override the veto.
“Defunding Planned Parenthood is a blatant attempt to deny women
access to the full range of reproductive health care services, and Virginia
women won’t stand for it,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress
Virginia, a liberal advocacy group.
“Politicians in Richmond don’t get to decide where women get
their health care and what kind of services they receive, and we’re glad that Gov.