Press Release Recent Win 2.27.2024

Virginia General Assembly Passes Two Crucial Reproductive Freedom Bills

Contraceptive Equity Act and Protect Virginia’s Health Workers

The Virginia General Assembly has successfully passed two pivotal bills that address reproductive healthcare and protect the rights of health workers. The bills, Contraceptive Equity Act (SB238/HB819) and the Protect Virginia’s Health Workers “Board of Medicine” bill (SB716/HB519), are now headed to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk for the Governor to sign or veto.

The Contraceptive Equity Act tackles cost barriers to contraceptive equity by ensuring that individuals have access to affordable and accessible contraceptive coverage without co-pays, cost-sharing, burdensome reimbursement requirements, or coverage delays.

“This legislation is a significant step forward to ensuring reproductive autonomy and accessible healthcare for Virginians. By removing financial barriers to contraceptive access, individuals are empowered to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. Affordable contraceptive coverage is not just a matter of reproductive health; it is an essential component of good health policy that supports education, employment, and overall well-being,” says Lexi White, Policy Director of REPRO Rising Virginia.

The Board of Medicine bill aims to safeguard abortion care in Virginia and protect abortion care providers from punitive actions by the Virginia Board of Medicine. Without federal protections for abortion, it ensures that providers are not penalized for providing legal healthcare procedures in Virginia.

The legislation clarifies that the Virginia Board of Medicine can only take adverse actions against providers of abortion for abortion care that is prohibited by Virginia law, rather than that of other states. This protects healthcare providers from potential threats or fear-mongering tactics employed by hostile states that have banned or severely restricted abortion since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court decision, which rolled back constitutional protections for abortion care, and opened the door to punitive restrictions at the state level.

“With thousands of abortion patients seeking care in the Commonwealth from hostile states, abortion providers need the assurance that they can provide legal abortion care to all who need it without repercussions. Decisions regarding reproductive healthcare should always be between the pregnant individual and their trusted medical provider without political or ideological interference,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of REPRO Rising Virginia. “We celebrate the passage of these two landmark bills by the Virginia General Assembly, affirming our commitment to reproductive autonomy and the well-being of our communities. The Contraceptive Equity Act and the Protect Virginia’s Health Workers bill collectively champion accessible healthcare, eliminate barriers, and safeguard the rights of individuals and healthcare providers alike. In a post-Roe reality, we can take nothing for granted with it comes to our Reproductive Freedom.”

Both bills underscore the commitment of the Virginia General Assembly to advancing Reproductive Freedom and pursuing equitable access to healthcare. Governor Youngkin’s decision to sign these bills into law would mark a significant stride towards comprehensive reproductive healthcare and the protection of health workers in the Commonwealth.