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Health, Politics, Virginia

Advocate: Reproductive freedom bill ‘neutered’ by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin

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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has gutted a bill meant to guarantee the reproductive freedoms of people living in the Commonwealth.

Youngkin has sent an amendment back to the Virginia General Assembly for the Virginia Right to Contraception Bill which, advocates say, reduces it to a non-binding, time-limited policy statement and leaves Virginians’ right to contraception precariously unprotected.

“Governor Youngkin showed his true MAGA colors and sent back a toothless amendment to make it appear he supports contraception,” said Chris Fleming, the spokesperson for Americans for Contraception. “In fact, his amendment neuters the Right to Contraception Act, reducing it from a solid legal safeguard to a mere policy suggestion.

“This move is a blatant political maneuver designed to appease the MAGA base and align with Donald Trump, forsaking Virginians’ health and freedoms in the process. It is not just cowardly and dangerous; it is an outright betrayal of every Virginians’ right to make their own health care decisions.”

Fleming is urging Democrats in the Virginia Senate and House to reject the amendment.

More than 80 percent of voters across all demographics and affiliations support reproductive health rights and personal freedom, according to a survey conducted by Americans for Contraception.

The original bill was designed to protect women’s rights to birth control and put in place measures to allow women access to any FDA-approved drug intended for use in prevention of pregnancy including condoms, birth control pills, IUDs and plan B. The bill did not address abortion.

Virginia Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Charlottesville) did not expect the governor to sign the bill “though I think a clear majority of Virginians support the notion that people ought to have a right to contraception,” he told AFP.

“There are many people who have warned over the years that the abortion debate was really masking the larger debate about self-government with respect to contraception and all things private,” he said.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.