RICHMOND, Va. (DC News Now) — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin wants to enact a rule that would restrict access to abortions in the commonwealth.
As one of over three dozen budget amendments the Republican governor submitted ahead of a Friday vote in the General Assembly, Youngkin proposed limiting access to abortions for some people who rely on public funds for abortion access.
The first-term governor is asking Virginia lawmakers to block state funds from any abortion services except in the case of the mother’s health, incest, or rape — all of which can be covered by federal dollars.
The proposal comes as the Supreme Court of the United States is nearing a ruling that could change abortion access in the U.S.
The most consequential change of Youngkin’s proposed budget amendment: state funds would no longer cover abortions when a physician “believes the fetus will be born with a gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity… or mental deficiency.”
“There’s gonna be a lot of women who are forced into pregnancies that are to the detriment of their own health and against their own health choices,” said Del. Suhas Subramanyam, a Democrat who represents parts of Loudoun and Prince William Counties.
In an interview with DC News Now, Subramanyam blasted the governor.
“It seems like something the governor is doing to enhance his national profile rather than being responsive to what Virginians really need and want right now,” he said.
Subramanyam also said this would disproportionately impact low-income Virginians — those who depend on public funds.
Although it would be a narrow provision, The Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb said it would be a symbolic victory for the anti-abortion cause.
“They find it offensive and the fact that someone would take a human life with a tax dollar to them is beyond what they’re willing to tolerate,” Cobb said.
DC News Now asked what Cobb’s message would be to those who would still want, but could no longer afford an abortion.
“I would simply say that there’s such beauty in potential in a human life and we would want to encourage her to find the support she needs,” she said.
Youngkin also proposed other noteworthy budget amendments, including a three-month gas tax holiday and one making picketing or demonstrating in front of a judge’s home a Class 6 felony.
“He’s just listening to his base and to the National Republican Party base,” Subramanyam said. “And in the long run, I think people are gonna see that for what it is.”
“We would expect that there should be an effort to make sure that no one is harmed simply for espousing a different political view,” Cobb said.