Today the Virginia House Health, Welfare and Institutions subcommittee voted in favor of House Bill 62 which would repeal current law that provides for state funding for an abortion to low-income women when a doctor believes and certifies that the fetus would be born with a gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency.
The measure now moves to the full House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee.
The bill passed despite medical testimony opposing the bill including testimony from professional groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The attacks on women coming from the Commonwealth has been horrific as of late, but this bill is especially mean-spirited and cruel. In the past fiscal year only 23 women received state Medicaid funds to terminate a pregnancy based on a fetal anomaly diagnosis costing the Commonwealth less than $15,000.
Women’s health advocates came out in strong opposition to the measure. “Today’s vote is both shameful and callous,” said Katherine Greenier, Director of the Patricia M. Arnold Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU of Virginia. “HB 62 denies low-income women access to safe care for no other reason than their poverty. No woman plans to have an abortion, but if she needs one, every woman deserves the opportunity to make the best decision for her circumstances. Women and their families should have access to safe and affordable health services, especially in a medical crisis.”
The Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition offered the following statement. “The Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition denounces the House passage of this bill as callous and unsupportive of women’s health. HB 62 will leave low-income women in Virginia with no options for a pregnancy that has gone tragically wrong.”
“Every woman’s situation is different. Many things can go wrong in a pregnancy. No woman plans to have an abortion, but if she needs one, every woman deserves the opportunity to make the best decision for her unique circumstances. Women and their families should have access to safe and affordable health services, especially in a medical crisis.”
This is just the latest in a series of indignities the women of Virginia face. This week the Commonwealth also mandated transvaginal ultrasounds before getting an abortion and declared fetal cells persons. But to close the week out attacking poor women simply for being poor, this represents a new low even for anti-choice zealots.
Photo from WikiCommons.