Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe shut down a state effort to defund the abortion business Planned Parenthood on Tuesday with his veto, WTKR reports.
McAuliffe’s veto was expected. The pro-abortion governor vetoed a similar measure last year.
“If we are going to build a new, more vibrant Virginia economy, we need to open doors to quality, affordable health care, not close them,” McAuliffe said in a statement Tuesday. “Attempts to restrict women’s access to health care will impede the goal of making Virginia the best place to live, work, and run a business.”
The governor claimed the bill would hurt tens of thousands of Virginians who rely on Planned Parenthood for health care.
Virginia House Bill 2264 passed both houses with strong support earlier this month. The legislation would cut off federal Title X funding for Planned Parenthood and any other group that does abortions, and redirect the tax dollars to community health clinics that provide more comprehensive care but don’t do abortions.
State Del. Ben Cline, R-Amherst, sponsor of the bill, said the legislation “ensures that hospitals, federally qualified health clinics and rural health clinics are funded prior to abortion centers.”
One pro-life advocate says there are plenty of alternatives to Planned Parenthood for what little non-abortion health care it provides.
Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, said “apologists for abortion centers” incorrectly blamed Cline’s bill for endangering women’s health.
“Virginia has a duty to steward taxpayer money in a way that ensures funds are distributed by priority to the most effective point-of-service health-care providers,” Cobb said. “This legislation simply ensures that hospitals, federally qualified health clinics and rural health clinics are funded over abortion centers.”
She said that more than 140 federally qualified and rural clinics in Virginia offer comprehensive services to women and that many of them are in areas where Planned Parenthood doesn’t have clinics.
— Olivia Gans Turner (@O_G_Turner) February 21, 2017
After McAuliffe vetoed a similar bill last year, Cobb pointed out that abortion groups donated millions to his election campaign.
“If there’s one issue on which Governor McAuliffe has been ideologically rigid it is his unwavering support and protection of the $1 billion abortion industry,” Cobb said in 2016.
It is unclear whether the state legislature can override the governor’s veto.
U.S. Congress also is working to defund the abortion group. Legislators plan to redirect the tax dollars to federally-qualified community health clinics that offer more comprehensive care but don’t perform abortions.
Planned Parenthood has been exposed in recent videos as not providing prenatal care, despite claims to the contrary, and only providing ultrasounds in preparation for abortions.