Glenn Youngkin Vetoes Bill Protecting Birth Control, Suggests Law Isn’t Necessary

Virginia's GOP governor claimed that he supports contraception access and said there's "no question" that birth control use is protected by the Constitution. But so was abortion once upon a time...

Politics
Glenn Youngkin Vetoes Bill Protecting Birth Control, Suggests Law Isn’t Necessary

On Friday night, Virginia Gov. and bodily autonomy hater Glenn Youngkin (R) vetoed a pair of bills that would have codified the right to obtain and use contraception in state law. As an additional treat, Youngkin served up some gaslighting and Confederacy apologia.

Youngkin claimed the bills didn’t have proper religious exemptions for medical providers who didn’t want to provide birth control. “Let me be crystal clear: I support access to contraception. However, we cannot trample on the religious freedoms of Virginians,” he said in a press release. In his formal veto statement, he went so far as to suggest that House Bill 609 and Senate Bill 237 were unnecessary because Supreme Court precedent already establishes the right to use birth control. *Looks directly at camera.*

“I support contraception access. Of course, there is no question today that access is protected under the Constitution as laid out in Griswold v. Connecticut…and Eisenstadt v. Baird,” he wrote. Those cases established the right for married couples and single people to use birth control in 1965 and 1972, respectively. Left glaringly unsaid is that the same court overturned the 50-year precedent of Roe v. Wade and, on the day it did so, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that he wanted to overturn Griswold, too. These are truly gross omissions from Gaslight Glenn, a man who campaigned hard for a (failed) 15-week abortion ban after Roe fell.

The governor added that the birth control legislation “also undermines the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning their children’s upbringing and care.” That phrasing should ring alarm bells as a “parental rights” dog whistle, but instead of using the phrase to justify banning books, Youngkin’s using it to justify the government controlling young people’s bodies. Currently, there’s active litigation in at least one state over whether state consent laws for birth control can override minors’ access to a federal contraception program known as Title X. In March, an appeals court sided with a father in Texas who sued over the fact that Title X doesn’t require parental consent. (The federal government could appeal the case to the Supreme Court.) Thanks to the ruling, Texas teens can no longer get birth control confidentially as the case proceeds.

Youngkin vetoed about four dozen bills in total, including a few regarding what the Washington Post called “Confederate heritage groups.” One bill would have closed tax loopholes for groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and another would have prevented the state from issuing new license plates commemorating the Sons of Confederate Veterans or Gen. Robert E. Lee. Youngkin claimed that the state shouldn’t get in the business of “targeting” specific groups for tax laws or for license plate bans.

It’s darkly perfect that Youngkin’s comments about needing to be fair to Confederacy-loving groups came the same day he vetoed bills about protecting people’s right to control their reproduction. Recently it’s felt like we’re living inside the minds of white men from the late 19th century, thanks to the resurrection of an 1864 abortion ban and an 1873 anti-vice law that banned the mailing of “obscene” materials, including items used for abortion. And, all the while, these guys are telling us there’s nothing to worry about. If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that we should definitely worry when people in power tell us that our rights are safe.

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