Tens of thousands sign petition urging Youngkin to sign contraception legislation

Sen. Ghazala Hashmi (D-Chesterfield) gives remarks April 4 in Richmond urging Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin to sign legislation that would legally protect the right to contraception in Virginia. Courtesy of Office of Senator Ghazala F. Hashmi

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By Michael O'Connor

April 5, 2024

The measure to establish a right to contraception in Virginia is intended to preempt any future attacks on reproductive rights in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned.

As conservatives across the country erode reproductive rights in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Democrats in Virginia have backed a measure to protect against future attacks.

Democratic lawmakers and reproductive rights advocates in Richmond urged Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Thursday to sign into law Senate Bill 237, which would legally protect the right to access and use contraception in Virginia. The group presented to the governor’s staff a petition with over 37,000 signatures calling on Youngkin to sign the legislation.

Sen. Ghazala Hashmi (D-Chesterfield) introduced the bill in response to the many new state-based restrictions around the country on reproductive rights following Roe’s reversal. In a concurring opinion to that US Supreme Court decision, Justice Clarence Thomas called for an overturning of Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 decision that became the basis for the right to contraception. Recent actions taken in Alabama threatening access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and Missouri, where one of the strictest abortion bans in the country went into effect after Roe was overturned, made codifying reproductive rights more urgent, Hashmi said.

“We’re moving to protect the access to contraceptive care and doing so in anticipation that we’re going to see a continued assault on reproductive rights across the country,” Hashmi said in an interview. “We want to make sure Virginians are protected despite what Republican majorities might be doing in other states.”

Youngkin has until April 8 to take action on any remaining bills passed by the General Assembly and amend the state’s two-year budget.

“The governor continues to support access to contraception while ensuring the protection of constitutional rights,” Youngkin Press Secretary Christian Martinez said in a statement to Dogwood. “As he evaluates this bill sent to his desk, he is thoughtfully considering both of these priorities.”

Should Youngkin veto the contraception access bill, Hashmi said she would file it again.

“We have to protect this medical right and not allow government interference in it,” Hashmi said.

  • Michael O'Connor

    Michael is an award-winning journalist who has been covering Virginia news since 2013 with reporting stints at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia Business, and Richmond BizSense. A graduate of William & Mary and Northern Virginia Community College, he also covered financial news for S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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