Governor Terry McAuliffe held a conference on the front lawn of the Governor’s Mansion to publicly veto HB2264, a bill which passed the General Assembly last week that sought to prevent Planned Parenthood from contracting with the state. The veto of HB2264 is McAuliffe’s 75th veto during his time in office and it may not be his last.
“I told the legislature during my State of the Commonwealth address,‘ stop sending me socially divisive legislation that divides folks,’” McAuliffe said. “We can only grow as a Commonwealth and compete on the global stage when we are open and welcoming to everyone.”
HB2264, sponsored by Del. Benjamin Cline (R-Rockbridge) passed the Senate during crossover last week on a 20 to 19 vote. It would have prevented the Virginia Department of Health from providing funds to clinics that provide abortion services that aren’t covered by Medicaid.
Members of the General Assembly who are opposed to HB2264 were present at the event and McAuliffe thanked them.
“These folks have been stalwarts to protect women’s rights here in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said.
Volunteers from Planned Parenthood and Naral Pro-Choice stood in the crowd to hear speeches from the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general as well as members of Planned Parenthood.
“I am personally thankful Virginia has someone in the governor’s seat who respects the Constitutional rights of women and has been our top ally in the fight for quality healthcare and access for all Virginian women,” said Paulette McElwain the CEO of the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood.
“If you want to understand the consequences of divisive socially-attacking legislation, just go to North Carolina and look at the price they are paying today for their socially divisive HB-2 legislation,” McAuliffe said.
He went on to cite to businesses and organizations who have withdrawn from the state in the wake of it passing HB2, which requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to their birth certificate. A similar bill, proposed by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), failed to pass the House recently.
Autumn Klimis, 21, who is training to become a doula and volunteers with Planned Parenthood attended the veto signing.
“I am very thankful and proud to live in a state where we have a governor who is so passionate about protecting reproductive rights,” Klimis said.
McAuliffe stressed that discrimination ‘breeds hatred’ and it will not be tolerated.
“So let my message go strong here today that we will veto any legislation that harms any individuals,” he said. “Virginia is a beacon of democracy that is open and welcome to everyone.”
*This article was originally published in RVA Magazine and can be viewed here.