Women’s Reproductive Health Caucus outlines challenges, successes

state-capitol2The Women’s Reproductive Health Caucus held a press conference Tuesday outlining their efforts to roll back extreme legislation backed by Republicans to obstruct women’s access to health care.

Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) outlined the consequences of “Marketplace Virginia,” the proposed program to provide health care options for the Virginians who can’t afford health care and don’t qualify for Medicaid.

“Marketplace Virginia is an imperfect compromise, but our most important goal is to close the coverage gap and ensure that up to 400,000 Virginians gain access to quality, affordable healthcare,” said Sen. Favola.

Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) explained the House budget that does not include a plan for expanding Medicaid. The same budget also includes some amendments that among other things, would defund planned parenthood. Another amendment they proposed would prevent the Governor from rolling back the targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP) by executive order.

“The GOP budget plan is bad for women, it’s bad for families, and it’s bad for anyone who gets sick. In their quest to obstruct women’s health options at all costs and refusal to expand Medicaid, Republicans keep making bad choices for Virginia,” said Herring.

Hampton) pointed out that budget amendment 4-5.04 repeals abortion funding for low-income women when a physician certifies in writing that the fetus has an incapacitating physical or mental anomaly.

“This budget amendment would deny poor women access to safe care, for no other reason than their poverty,” said Del. Ward. “Instead of improving the health and safety of low-income women in Virginia, this budget amendment removes another layer of health care from those already at risk.”

SB 617, patroned by Sen. Mamie Locke (D -Hampton), would have repealed the mandatory ultrasound requirement that Republicans passed in 2012. Under that law, women seeking an abortion must submit to an abdominal ultrasound — regardless of their wishes, and regardless of the wishes of their doctors. House Republicans referred the bill to the House Courts of Justice Criminal Law Subcommittee and killed it last Friday.

“The ultrasound requirement is designed to shame, judge and delay a woman’s access to the health care she seeks, and I’m deeply disappointed that the subcommittee voted to continue mandating an unnecessary medical procedure,” said Sen. Locke.

Del. Kaye Kory (D-Fairfax) highlighted Republicans’ refusal to restore funds for FAMIS MOMS and Plan First and that women are still required to pay for their own ultrasounds in an unfunded mandate. They are leaving low-income women nowhere to turn.

Republicans refusal to expand Medicaid means over 100K women in the coverage gap lack options for affordable care,” said Del. Kory. “The lack of attention given to women’s reproductive access is the same as last year – shutting us out in the dead of night. Women deserve at least the dignity of debate.”

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