Virginia Governor’s Budget Proposal Includes Cruel and Discriminatory Provision that Would Force Low-Income Virginians to Carry Pregnancies with Severe Fetal Diagnoses
For Immediate Release: Dec. 16, 2022
The budget also includes $50,000 to implement an abortion ban.
Richmond, VA – Yesterday, Governor Glenn Youngkin proposed a budget for the Commonwealth that would ban Virginians eligible for Medicaid from receiving funding to end pregnancies with severe fetal diagnoses, like anencephaly, in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. It also includes $50,000 to “Establish 15-week gestation limitation for abortion.”
If passed, Virginians with low incomes will be forced to carry pregnancies fraught with suffering. Virginia denies state funding to Medicaid-eligible pregnant people who seek an abortion except in cases of rape, incest, when their life is at risk, and in cases of incapacitating fetal diagnoses. This budget removes fetal diagnoses from this list, interfering with low-income Virginians’ fundamental right and resources to make decisions about their health and families.
Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia:
“Governor Youngkin’s decision to strike this funding from Virginia’s budget is nothing short of heartless and cruel. It places people who face complex and tragic circumstances surrounding pregnancy, like a fatal fetal diagnosis, into impossible situations. These situations deserve our compassion and support – not shame and funding restrictions that put necessary reproductive health care out of reach.
This change will disproportionately impact people of color who will be forced to carry pregnancies that will result in a stillbirth or in the birth of a baby incompatible with life. If this funding is cut, low-income Virginians will be the ones having to go without access to the time-sensitive health care they need. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia will watch this process closely to make sure that this tragic funding cut does not become a reality. We will work with legislators to reject this change to the budget like they rejected it in June when Governor Youngkin proposed Budget Amendment 30.
The Governor’s budget proposal also confirms his plan to introduce a 15-week abortion ban during the upcoming legislative session. Let’s be clear: A ban is a ban, plain and simple. Banning abortion after 15 weeks denies a person the fundamental right to control their own body and health care decisions. The goal of this ban, as with all abortion bans, is to stop people from accessing essential health care and to take away people’s power over their own bodies, lives, and futures. We look forward to working with Senate Education and Health champions to defeat this ban like they defeated Senator Chase’s 20-week abortion ban last session.”
This budget change would impact cases in § 32.1-92.2 where the fetus “will be born with a gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or with a gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency.” In Fiscal Year 2021, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) approved funding for 21 abortions due to fetal anomalies.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia (PPAV) is a statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to preserve and broaden access to reproductive health care through legislation, public education, electoral activity and litigation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. PPAV works to ensure that individuals and families have the freedom, information, and ability to make their own informed reproductive choices.