Youngkin vetoes Virginia contraception accessibility act

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) vetoed a slew of bills Friday, including one focused on protecting access to contraceptives.

“While I look forward to working with the General Assembly to see if we can reach agreement on language in the future, today I must act on the language before me, and there are several bills which are not ready to become law,” Youngkin said in a release shared by his office.

“This includes legislation related to contraception. Let me be crystal clear: I support access to contraception. However, we cannot trample on the religious freedoms of Virginians,” he added.

In his veto statement, Youngkin said the legislation created “an overly broad cause of action against political subdivisions and parents, as well as medical professionals acting in their expert judgment and within their scope of practice.”

“That is the issue the recommendations I sent back to the General Assembly addressed,” he wrote. “I will continue to uphold the oath that I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Companion bills in the State House and Senate chambers state that “a person shall have the right to obtain contraceptives and to engage in contraception” and that the right “shall not be infringed upon by any law, regulation, or policy that expressly or effectively limits, delays, or impedes access to contraceptives or information related to contraception.”

Youngkin, in his rebuke, said contraceptives are already protected under the Constitution. He originally sent back substitute language that would make access to the birth control a policy, rather than signing a new law, according to local outlet WRC-TV.

However, when state officials let his motion expire, the original bill was sent to his desk.

Despite his veto, Youngkin reiterated his support for contraceptives.

“Quality health care for women is essential and contraception remains a crucial component of reducing abortions and fostering a culture of life, making Virginia the best place to raise a family,” Youngkin wrote in the statement.

In a response to the veto, the Virginia Democratic Party took a swipe at the governor.

“Governor Youngkin just proved to Virginians that once again, he does not care about their health or rights,” Susan Swecker, chair for the Virginia Democratic Party, wrote in a press release.

“Contraception is used to manage a wide variety of health conditions, and by choosing not to protect it, Youngkin is hurting thousands of people,” she continued “This comes down to health and freedom, and Youngkin and Republicans continue to carelessly and blatantly disregard both.”

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