McAuliffe vetoes bill to defund Planned Parenthood at Richmond clinic

Posted at 11:24 AM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 13:25:54-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed legislation passed by the General Assembly to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood during a ceremonial signing at a clinic in Richmond Tuesday morning.

Supporters of the Republican-backed bill maintained it would take money away from the organization and reroute the funds to healthcare groups providing comprehensive care to families. However, opponents said it would limit women's health rights.

“We are here today to smack down the latest attack on ladies’ healthcare rights," McAuliffe said.

The Democratic governor called himself a “brickwall” against legislation that would limit funding to the non-profit.

Virginia League of Planned Parenthood CEO and President Paulette McElwain said if the bill were to be signed into law, $24,000 in funding would disappear and 1,300 women would lose access to healthcare.

“The specific grant that would’ve been blocked from this bill would’ve been a grant that allows low income individuals that can’t afford STI testing to access them at our center for free,” McElwain said.

McElwain said the livelihood of Virginia’s five centers was not threatened nor would have abortions stopped because of HB 1090.

While the media was told not to disclose the address of the event, several protestors still lined up outside of the Richmond Planned Parenthood center.

Protestor Jen Hanrahan of Richmond along with her nine children held signs that read, “Adoption not Abortion” and “Face it, Abortion Kills.”

“I would just like to see that money go to organizations that are truly concerned about offering mammograms, STI testing and ultrasounds,” Hanrahan said.

Republicans will not likely have enough votes as a two-thirds majority is needed to overturn the governor's veto.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Planned Parenthood advocates.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Planned Parenthood advocates.

Reaction to the Veto 

Del. Ben Cline (R-24) from Rockbridge:

“I am disappointed that Governor McAuliffe chose to veto this important legislation that would redirect taxpayer dollars toward more comprehensive providers of health care services for women. The Governor is clearly listening to his friends in the abortion lobby, rather than ensuring that women have access to quality care. It is my hope that the House and Senate will override the Governor’s veto during the Reconvened Session on April 20.”

Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia Cianti Stewart-Reid:

“We are ecstatic and grateful that Governor McAuliffe has vetoed HB1090. We have seen in Virginia and around the country, coordinated attacks on safe and legal abortion and access to Planned Parenthood which culminated with the passage of this bill. As he has said from the start of his Administration, Governor McAuliffe is a brick wall for attempts to block women’s access to reproductive health care and his veto today affirms that stand. We are proud to stand with a Governor who always stands with us."

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Governor's Full Statement 

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1090, which would prohibit the Virginia Department of Health from entering into contracts or providing funds to any entity that performs or maintains/operates a facility performing non-federally qualified abortions.

This bill, aimed at Planned Parenthood, would harm tens of thousands of Virginians who rely on the health care services and programs provided by Planned Parenthood health centers by denying them access to affordable care. The fact is that Virginians, and particularly low-income Virginians, need more access to health care, not less.

If Virginia takes federal dollars, then Virginia must abide by federal rules. As a stipulation of accepting federal family planning funding under Title X, Virginia must be fair in selecting which entities receive it.

Virginia cannot add this limitation set forth in House Bill 1090 without violating the Supremacy Clause. Similar laws enacted in North Carolina and Texas were struck down by federal courts for this exact reason.

If we are going to build a new, more vibrant Virginia economy, we need to be opening up doors to quality, affordable health care, not closing them. I have promised to stand in the way of any and all attempts to interfere with a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.