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Advocates Blast GOP Efforts To Limit Abortion Funding In Virginia

Missy Wesolowski with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia speaking at Tuesday's press conference.
Missy Wesolowski with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia speaking at Tuesday's press conference.

Republican state legislators are trying to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers through two different amendments currently before the general assembly.

A budget amendment introduced last week by Delegate Scott Garrett of Lynchburg would stop the Virginia Department of Health from contracting with groups like Planned Parenthood. Garrett argues state money shouldn’t be spent on abortions, except for life-threatening emergencies. Abortion rights advocates spoke out against the budget amendment at a press conference Tuesday morning.

Missy Wesolowski, a legislative lobbyist for Planned Parenthood in Virginia, said the budget amendment threatens more than just access to abortion.

“Let’s be clear, Planned Parenthood is an abortion provider, but also a provider of primary care and sexual health education,” she said. “Efforts to defund Planned Parenthood impact a person's access to all those services within our communities.”

Delegate Kathy Byron of Bedford has also proposed a constitutional amendment that would prevent state tax dollars from funding abortion. Unlike Garrett’s budget amendment, Byron’s constitutional amendment would allow state dollars to flow to organizations like Planned Parenthood for non-abortion related care. That amendment would need to pass the general assembly twice, with an election in between before it would go before voters.

 

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