Budget amendment could limit Medicaid-funded abortions

Hyde amendment among 38 proposal by Gov. Youngkin up for vote Friday
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 7:28 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - With the abortion debate more heated than ever, Governor Glenn Youngkin is weighing in with a new amendment to limit abortions funded through Medicaid.

The amendment, dubbed Virginia’s Hyde Amendment, would prohibit tax dollars from covering abortions for fetal abnormalities or because the fetus may be born with a disability.

Democratic Senator Jennifer McClellan says there were only 22 Medicaid-funded abortions for fetal abnormalities last year and says there was little impact on the state budget. Even though abortions are largely protected, McClellan fears this could be the first step to crippling abortion rights state-wide.

“I lifted the ban on abortion coverage and insurance sold on the exchange. That already is not using any government funding, and so this should not have any impact on the plan sold through the exchange,” McClellan said.

With one Democratic senator expected to be absent, there is a wild card in Senator Joe Morrissey. If Morrissey sides with Republicans, Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears would cast the tie-breaking vote.

The Governor’s Office says the Hyde language was reinstated to make it clear that Virginian taxpayers will not be forced to pay for abortions.

Groups like the Family Foundation of Virginia welcomed the governor’s proposal.

“A majority of Virginians do not support tax dollars funding abortion,” Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb said. “Governor Youngkin is simply aligning our law with the will of the people after abortion-extremist Governor Northam hijacked state funds to prop up the abortion industry.”

In response to the proposal, Planned Parenthood of Virginia denounced the governor’s amendment saying that Virginians with low incomes will be forced to carry pregnancies, interfering with their right to make decisions about their health and family.

“Shame on Governor Youngkin for proposing this cruel and discriminatory amendment to the budget. People facing complex and tragic circumstances surrounding pregnancy, like a fatal fetal diagnosis, deserve our compassion and support – not shame and funding restrictions that put necessary abortion care out of reach,” Planned Parenthood Executive Director Jamie Lockhart said.

“It should not depend on what type of insurance you have in your ability to have the medical care that you and your provider think that you should have,” McClellan said.

For a list of the 38 budget proposals up for a vote Friday, click HERE.

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