Youngkin Signs Maternal Health Law at Anti-Abortion ‘Fake Clinic’

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin gestures during news conference announcing the Department of Education report on education Thursday May 19, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

By Carolyn Fiddler

March 29, 2023

Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed two identical bills into law that aim to help expectant mothers, but he chose to hold turn the signing into a PR opportunity by doing so at a public event at a facility known as a “crisis pregnancy center,” a place that exists to dissuade people from accessing a full range of reproductive healthcare services, including abortion care and contraception.

On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin held a ceremonial bill signing for two identical pieces of legislation–HB 2290 and SB 1314–that provide expectant single mothers with the ability to petition courts to receive monthly child support payments and get reimbursement for pregnancy and delivery expenses. The Republican lawmakers who sponsored these bills hope that the availability of financial support before a child’s birth will discourage pregnant women from seeking abortions.

Youngkin, the reportedly aspiring presidential candidate, turned his support for these bills into a public relations opportunity by holding a press event and ceremonial signing at the East End Pregnancy Center, an anti-abortion facility also known as a “crisis pregnancy center” that performs pregnancy tests and ultrasounds but offers no actual maternal health services to pregnant women.

East End Pregnancy Center is one of more than 50 crisis pregnancy centers in the commonwealth. So-called “crisis pregnancy centers” offer no actual medical services that assist with maternal or fetal health; rather, they are facilities that are often funded by anti-reproductive rights groups and exist solely to discourage women from seeking a full spectrum of reproductive care services, including abortion and contraception.

Youngkin himself is a known opponent of reproductive freedom. Shortly after the US Supreme Court decision eliminating the reproductive rights previously enshrined in Roe v. Wade, Virginia’s governor announced his support for a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. He doubled down on his efforts to restrict reproductive rights during this winter’s General Assembly session, enlisting Republicans in the legislature to carry bills banning the procedure; these efforts failed as the Democratic-majority state Senate killed them and the Republican-controlled state House avoided even considering these unpopular proposals in an election year.

“Fake clinics (CPCs) disguise themselves as comprehensive reproductive healthcare centers, situate themselves next to legitimate abortion providers, mislead pregnant people about their pregnancies, and communicate false information about abortion,” executive director of REPRO Rising Virginia Tarina Keene told Dogwood. “It’s no surprise that Governor Youngkin, who has expressed his intention to restrict abortion access and ‘gleefully’ sign an abortion ban into law, decided to sign these bills related to maternal health at these institutions that actively manipulate, shame, and try to dissuade pregnant people from seeking abortion care.”

  • Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler is Dogwood's chief political correspondent. She is also the nation’s foremost expert in state politics with almost two decades of experience in statehouse machinations, and her comic book collection is probably bigger than yours.

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