Virginia Senate Approves Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

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A Planned Parenthood facility in Virginia

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RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Senate narrowly approved a bill to defund Planned Parenthood on Tuesday.

The measure passed 20-19 on a party-line vote and the Virginia House has already passed the measure. Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) is expected to veto the measure.

Supporters of the measure argue the funds should go to more comprehensive health care clinics, while opponents say this effort will hurt low-income women in need of important services.

House Bill 2264 would prohibit the Department of Health from entering into contracts with Planned Parenthood or similar abortion clinics in Virginia.

Backers of the bill say funds should go to less politically-motivated health care organizations, while others argue there are thousands of women who rely heavily on Planned Parenthood.

"This is a public health issue. This is a contract, again, that monitors for sexually transmitted diseases. This has nothing to do with abortions," said Senator Barbara Favola, D-31st District.

Some Republicans who voted for this bill argue the financial impact will be minimal and services for female patients in need will not be going away.

"All of those services - annual exams, pap smears, testing, smoking cessation - that is done through billing with Medicaid. And so those services will continue," said Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, R-12th District. Dunnavant is also an OBGYN.

McAuliffe held a high-profile veto signing event at the Planned Parenthood headquarters in Richmond last year. His spokesman confirms the governor plans to follow suit this year.

The legislature is not expected to have the votes to override a veto.

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