Virginia governor vetoes anti-abortion bill, says it would harm 'tens of thousands of Virginians'

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signs a document as witnessed by state government employees.(Virginia Governor's Twitter account)

Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed on Tuesday a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood and transfer funds to public health groups, hospitals and health clinics.

McAuliffe vetoed House Bill 1090 that would prohibit the state from entering into a contract or make a grant to clinics that perform abortion that are not federally qualified abortions or maintain facilities where non-federally qualified abortions are performed.

The governor sees the bill as a measure aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood.

He said the measure "would harm tens of thousands of Virginians who rely on the healthcare services and programs provided by Planned Parenthood health centers by denying them access to affordable care."

McAuliffe said if Virginia takes federal dollars, it must abide by federal rules as with family planning funds.

He said Virginia cannot set the limitation without violating the Supremacy Clause, adding that similar laws in North Carolina and Texas have been struck down by federal courts.

"I have promised to stand in the way of any and all attempts to interfere with a woman's right to make her own health care decisions," he said.

The bill exempts abortions for rape, incest and major foetal abnormalities, according to LifeSite News.

Bill sponsor Ben Cline said he was disappointed by the governor's veto of the bill "that would redirect taxpayer dollars toward more comprehensive providers of healthcare services for women."

"The governor is clearly listening to his friends in the abortion lobby, rather than ensuring that women have access to quality care," he said.

Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation of Virginia, said, "We now know how much money it costs to purchase a veto from Terry McAuliffe – right around $2 million in campaign contributions," according to The Virginian-Pilot.