RICHMOND—Virginia’s House of Delegates today passed HB980, known as the Reproductive Health Protection Act, and it now goes to the Senate for approval. Majority Leader Charniele introduced the bill in order to remove some of the worst constraints on women’s reproductive freedom in the Commonwealth.
“These restrictions were not designed to protect women, but rather to suppress their ability to make their own choices regarding their bodies,” said Leader Herring on her bill. “This bill concerns an incredibly important decision that should be left up to a woman and her healthcare provider.”
The Reproductive Health Protection Act seeks to remove requirements such as forcing women to undergo medically-unnecessary ultrasounds, waiting periods on abortion services, and biased counseling. It also repeals unnecessary restrictions on medical personnel and facilities, so that qualified advanced practice clinicians may perform abortions during early pregnancy, provided that it falls within the scope of practice. Abortion care providers may offer services to patients without the interference of targeted regulations imposed to limit such services.
The current restrictions greatly impact women with fewer resources to travel or wait for service, including low-income women, young women, rural women, and women of color from receiving valuable medical services.
“All women in the Commonwealth deserve accessible reproductive healthcare services, without medically unnecessary obstacles,” said Leader Herring.
Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring is the first woman and African American to lead the majority party. Last November, a blue wave saw a record number of women elected into the House of Delegates, which helped the Democrats attain the majority for the first time in 20 years.