Washington D.C., Mar 12, 2021 / 16:00 pm
Virginia’s governor on Friday signed a bill into law expanding abortion coverage in the state, prompting a rebuke from the state’s bishops.
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed the legislation, House Bill 1896 and Senate Bill 1276, which allows abortion coverage to be included without limits in health plans on the state exchanges. The health plans often receive subsidies, which means that taxpayers would be funding abortions under the law.
“Governor Northam has crossed yet another tragic threshold by inserting abortion without limits into Virginia’s health benefits exchange,” stated Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington and Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond on Friday.
“We decry the enactment of this deplorable policy, which is built on the destructive lie that abortion is healthcare,” they stated. “We are saddened when we contemplate the increased number of unborn lives likely to be lost as a result.”
The state house and senate passed the legislation in January in February, repealing a previous ban on abortion coverage on the exchange. Beginning July 1, health plans in the state will cover abortions for any reason.
The repeal of the abortion coverage ban was introduced by Del. Sally Hudson in the state house, and Sen. Jennifer McClellan in the state senate.
“In many cases, people receive public subsidies to purchase these plans,” the bishops noted, adding that “taxpayers will be forced to fund plans that cover abortion on demand.”
The legislation was one of 80 bills that Northam signed into law on Friday, according to AP. Other bills included foreclosure protections for homeowners and student financial aid to undocumented immigrants, WSET reported.