Senate Passes Shield Bills To Protect Patients Seeking Access to Health Care

Richmond, Virginia—Despite Glenn Youngkin’s best efforts, Virginia remains a safe haven in the South for people seeking abortion care. As states across the country ramp up their efforts to criminalize patients for exercising reproductive choice, Virginia has been a sanctuary for people escaping draconian laws passed in their own states. Today, the Senate passed two bills sponsored by Senator Barbara Favola that further cementing protections for patients trying to access reproductive health care. SB15 would prohibit the Governor from extraditing patients who sought abortion care in Virginia back to their home state for criminal prosecution. SB16 would prohibit the issuance of search warrants for sensitive menstrual and reproductive health data. The post-Roe landscape has made life significantly more precarious for people who can become pregnant across the United States. These bills reaffirm our Commonwealth’s commitment to safe, legal abortion, bodily autonomy, and the right to medical privacy. 

“Everyone in our community deserves to feel safe accessing medical care, and we’re thrilled to see SB15 and SB16 pass the Senate,” said LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director of Progress Virginia. “It is a gross state overreach to prosecute patients for seeking legal health care in Virginia, and equally intrusive for the state to go on a fishing expedition in people’s sensitive medical data. We’re happy that Senate Democrats have moved these bills forward. We’ll be following them closely to make sure they pass the House and will be strongly urging Governor Youngkin to sign both bills into law.”


SB15 was passed out of the full Senate on a vote of 21-19. 

  • Per federal law, a person who is requested for extradition by a charging state must be a fugitive. States are not federally required to extradite a person who violated the laws of their home state in a state where their conduct was legal, though they may opt to honor the extradition request. Many states have adopted shield laws more broadly to set limits on who may or may not be extradited in these cases: Virginia has not.

SB 16 passed the full Senate on a vote of 22-18.