The Virginia General Assembly has joined the state house in approving an amendment proposed by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell to forbid any insurance plan in the state exchange from offering abortion coverage, even if the coverage is paid for out-of-pocket and with separate funds.
The amendment passed by just one vote.
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, which along with other state reproductive and civil rights groups opposes the amendment, called the vote “a significant blow to Virginia women’s reproductive health care access.”
“In approving Governor McDonnell’s abortion coverage ban, 20 senators and 55 delegates have put an anti-choice ideology before Virginia women’s health, personal liberty, and economic freedom,” said Caroline O’Shea, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, in a statement. “Because of this amendment, tens of thousands of Virginians using the health care exchange will be prohibited from buying insurance that covers their full range of reproductive health care needs, even if they use their own money.”
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“We are extremely disappointed that the majority of the members of the General Assembly put politics above women’s health when they approved the governor’s amendment,” Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said in a statement. “Most health plans already include coverage for abortion. A woman should be able to make personal decisions about her health care without the interference of politicians, and her health coverage should enable her to take care of her health and well being.”