Virginians One Step Closer to Ensuring Abortion Access for All With Reproductive Health Equity Act Being Sent To Workgroup For Study

Members of the House Health Welfare and Institutions Committee voted to send HB1445, Delegate Marcia Price’s Reproductive Health Equity Act, to a workgroup for further study. This will allow legislators to bring in experts and stakeholders to study how people in our community will be impacted by the bill. We’re thrilled that legislators have taken the first step towards ensuring the Reproductive Health Equity Act becomes law. Several Virginians spoke in support of this bill, speaking directly to how this bill will positively impact their lives. 

“In the summer of 2019, a series of medical exams determined that I had a 27cm tumor that grew from my left ovary. Before the surgery began, my family told me that my surgery was going to cost $110,000. Thankfully my insurance was able to pay the majority of the cost as it would have been impossible for my family to cover it all,” said Kat Lopez, an activist with the Latina Institute for Reproductive Health in Virginia. “A few months later I lost my health insurance and it made me terrified of possibly having more expensive reproductive healthcare needs without the help of insurance. I am grateful that I had insurance during that difficult time, but I know firsthand that it is not the same for many Virginians. I believe that healthcare is a human right for all and not a privilege for some. I cannot wait to see this become a reality for all Virginians with the help of the Reproductive Health Equity Act.”

We’re thrilled that the Reproductive Health Equity Act has passed the first hurdle in becoming a law. We all want to live in a Commonwealth where every family is strong and healthy and everyone has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of race, income level, zip code, immigration status, or gender identity. But right now, thousands of our friends and neighbors are struggling to access the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion and birth control, because of barriers thrown up by anti-women health politicians,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “By referring the bill to a workgroup for further study, legislators will be able to more deeply engage with the bill and have the opportunity to hear from a variety of experts and stakeholders about how the Reproductive Health Equity Act will impact people in our community.”

“The Reproductive Health Equity Act will make it possible for every Virginian to decide whether and when to become a parent based on what’s best for their family, instead of whether they can afford care,” said Margie Del Castillo, Director of Field and Advocacy with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “This bill takes us closer towards advancing our vision of health, dignity, and justice for all of us. No exceptions. We applaud the House Committee on Health, Welfare, and Institutions for referring it to a workgroup and see this as a step toward attaining reproductive justice for all Virginians.”


The Reproductive Health Equity Act would establish comprehensive insurance coverage for the full spectrum of reproductive health services, including family planning, abortion, and postpartum care, for all Virginians, regardless of income, immigration status, gender identity, or type of insurance. 

Access to affordable birth control is at risk. 

  • In October 2017, the Trump administration reversed the contraceptive coverage mandate of the ACA, putting countless Virginians at risk of losing access to affordable birth control.  
  •  A survey found that more than a third of female voters (34%) have struggled to afford prescription birth control at some point in their lives, and as a result, used birth control inconsistently.  
    • This isn’t surprising considering co-pays for birth control pills typically range between $15 and $50 per month.  That adds up to over $600 per year.  Other methods, such as IUDs, can cost several hundred dollars, even with health insurance.

Transgender people have a difficult time accessing compassionate, gender-affirming health care that takes into account their unique needs and situations. 

  • In 2015, 25% of transgender people experienced a problem in the past year with their insurance related to being transgender, such as being denied coverage for routine health care because they are transgender. 

Undocumented immigrants have a difficult time getting health insurance coverage and therefore are less likely to get the health care they need when they need it. 

  • Among the total nonelderly population, 45% of undocumented immigrants were uninsured compared to about one in four (23%) documented immigrants and less than one in ten citizens (8%) as of 2017.