National News

Bishops Urge Virginia Catholics to Tell Their Governor to Veto ‘Coercive Contraception’ Bills

A Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive box is seen in this file photo. (Photo: CNS/Shannon Stapleton, Reuters)

WASHINGTON — The Virginia Catholic Conference is urging Catholics to contact the state’s governor, Glenn Youngkin, to veto bills sent to him by the state legislators that would require health insurance companies to provide contraception coverage in their health plans without any religious exemptions or parental rights protections.

An action alert on the state Catholic conference’s website calls the bills “coercive contraception measures” and asks Catholics to “urge the governor to veto these extremely harmful bills that would end lives, violate religious liberty, and undercut parental rights!”

The governor has until May 17 to sign or veto the two bills.

A sample letter on the state Catholic conference’s website outlines what the state’s bishops find wrong with the two measures.

It points out that one bill “seeks to grant all persons, including minors, a ‘right’ to obtain contraceptives and undergo sterilization procedures — thus undercutting current law on parental consent before a minor can have a surgical procedure.”

The letter says this legislation “would also undermine the religious liberty and conscience rights of hospitals and health clinics that do not provide sterilization procedures or contraceptives due to their beliefs. It would even subject them to lawsuits.”

The other measure up for the governor’s review regards contraceptive drug coverage in health plans that the conference notes would even include some drugs that cause abortions.

“These bills also disregard religious liberty and conscience rights. Many organizations have religious or moral objections to covering contraceptives and drugs that cause abortions. Their religious freedom and conscience rights must be clearly and explicitly protected, but these bills completely fail to do that,” the letter to the governor reads before pleading with him to veto both measures.

The governor had proposed amendments to both bills that were rejected by the state’s lawmakers. 

His proposed amendment to the contraceptive coverage bill in health insurance plans would have added an exemption for “sincerely held religious or ethical beliefs,” while his proposed amendment to the bill establishing a “right to contraception” would have limited its scope.

In a statement to the local ABC affiliate, 8News, the governor’s office said Youngkin has consistently taken a clear stance in support of contraception, but that he wants to protect Virginians’ constitutional rights and religious liberties.