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Youngkin vetoes bill that would have established a right to contraception in Virginia

Chris Graham
glenn youngkin
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Gov. Glenn Youngkin, at the direction of the religious far right, vetoed two bills that would have amended Virginia law to recognize a right to contraception and required health insurance companies to provide coverage for contraception.

The vetoes, announced on Friday, came after the Virginia Catholic Conference called the bills “coercive” and urged Catholics to call on Youngkin “to veto these extremely harmful bills that would end lives, violate religious liberty and undercut parental rights.”

Youngkin had originally sent back to state legislators substitute measures that would have meekly asserted as a policy statement that Virginians have a right to access contraception under current U.S. Supreme Court precedents.

The House of Delegates and State Senate both let the proposed substitutes die without votes.

Youngkin’s press office issued a statement in his name Friday night splitting hairs on what he was trying to do.

“Let me be crystal clear: I support access to contraception. However, we cannot trample on the religious freedoms of Virginians. And that is the issue the recommendations I sent back to the General Assembly addressed,” Youngkin said in the statement.

The veto statements from the governor explaining his actions went into detail about the importance of “recognizing the diverse religious, ethical, and moral beliefs of Virginians” to note that “any contraception-related changes must be coupled with robust conscience clause protections for providers and uphold the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning their children’s upbringing and care.”

This kowtowing to the religious far right will only serve as more political fuel for Democrats in the 2024 election cycle.

Youngkin, famously, blew the 2023 state elections by hitching his wagon to proposed abortion bans being advocated by the far right, rendering himself a lame duck by handing majorities in the House of Delegates and State Senate to Democrats in the process.

His attempt to claim to “support access to contraception” won’t fool moderate and independent voters for whom reproductive rights is a defining issue, though it will almost certainly be used against him by any future Republican rivals for whatever party nomination he might seek once his single term in the governor’s office is over.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].