Virginia’s governor on Monday signed legislation that will make Virginia the first state in the nation to make public, through a citizen petition, a comprehensive list of all women’s reproductive health care services in the state.
Under the bill, which has been approved by the state Senate and will be sent to the House, the Virginia Department of Health and Human Services would provide a list of women’s health clinics, gynecology centers, emergency rooms, STD clinics, and emergency rooms that provide women’s healthcare services and services related to reproductive health and family planning.
It would also include the names of women who receive healthcare services from those clinics, including birth control pills, condoms, and Pap smears.
The state has also mandated that the state public schools provide an information package about reproductive health services for the first time, and that students in Virginia should have access to information about reproductive healthcare.
Terry McAuliffe announced the bill during a news conference at the Capitol Monday morning.
“It’s time to put an end to the silos and the politics of denial,” he said.
“The American people deserve to know that women’s care is available in a way that is accessible, reliable, and affordable.
The Department of Public Health and the Virginians deserve the information they need to make informed decisions.”
According to the Virginia Medical Association, in the last 20 years, Virginia has seen a 20 percent increase in the number of abortions.
McAuliffe’s bill was first introduced in February by state Sen. Richard Black, R-Virginia Beach, who noted that the number that had abortions declined from an estimated 5,000 in 2005 to 1,600 in 2014.
He said that the rate of women seeking abortion services had fallen by more than 80 percent during that same period.
According to Black, the bill is meant to protect women from discrimination and to empower them to choose the healthcare options that best meet their needs.
The legislation was also praised by Planned Parenthood Virginia, which said that it has seen “no meaningful changes” in access to reproductive healthcare services in Virginia since its passage.
Terry McDonnell speaks during a press conference at City Hall in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday, January 21, 2020.
Virginia’s House of Delegates approved a bill in June that would require the state’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services to make publicly available a list containing all women who have health insurance through the state health care exchange.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signs the first bill into law during a signing ceremony at City Council Chambers in Richmond on Monday.
Virginia House of Representatives approves bill to make Virginia ‘first in the country’ to make comprehensive list for women’s sexual health, including contraception, reproductive health, STDs, and pregnancy prevention.
Ralph Northam signs the bill into effect.
Virginia Department of Human Services to begin making public information about sexual health care in Virginia, including the names, addresses, phone numbers, and health insurance numbers of all reproductive health centers and clinics in the Commonwealth.
The list of services, which would be publicly available, would include services related: contraception, contraception coverage, HIV testing, sexual health and pregnancy information, and information about abortion.
A provision that would make the information available to women would also provide a “bulk payment” for abortions and would require any woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and a pelvic exam.
The bill, HB 1260, has been supported by Planned the Family, the Susan B. Anthony List, the National Right to Life Committee, the ACLU of Virginia, and other Virginia groups.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.