The other day, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell gave his State of the Commonwealthwhere he addressed what he accomplished in 2012 and laid out his priorities for 2013.
It didn’t come as much of a surprise that he completely avoided discussing women’s health—especially after last year’s misstep with the extreme and dangerous mandatory ultrasound bill. However, when considering the state of the commonwealth, it’s important to take into consideration the state of health care. Here are a few things McDonnell failed to mention…
For all his discussion about the economy, Governor McDonnell and his anti-women’s health cohorts fail to realize that women’s health issues are economic issues. Why else would he support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the single greatest advancement for women’s health in a generation?
Virginia, with the help of current gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, has fought tooth and nail against the Affordable Care Act. In fact, they filed a law suit against the ACA on the very same day health care reform was signed into law. Apparently, McDonnell doesn’t think affordable access to health care is an economic concern.
Even after the Supreme Court ruled to reaffirm the health care law, McDonnell has continued to fight it. He refuses to implement Medicaid expansion in spite of the benefits it would bring to women in Virginia. For many women, Medicaid can mean the difference between getting cancer screenings and birth control or going without, which is especially important considering Virginia has some of the highest rates of breast cancer deaths in the country among both African-American and white women.
And while McDonnell has supported policies allowing hospitals to deny access to emergency contraception even in cases of rape and incest—he did manage to sign a law mandating onerous regulations of health centers, and another mandating ultrasounds with the intention of shaming women. A woman needs the best care she can get from health care providers in her community. She does not need politically motivated judgment from Governor Bob McDonnell and his allies in the legislature.
Those are just a few of the things McDonnell accomplished last year, and so far 2013 isn’t looking much better. The Virginia State Legislature is only in session for 45 days total, but those 45 days are more than enough to negatively affect women’s health. Already state lawmakers began the New Year by introducing new bills designed to restrict a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions. And if McDonnell and Cuccinelli have their way, more could be coming….