Youngkin Rejects Bills on Birth Control and Confederate Tax Exemption

 May 19, 2024

Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia had a decisive day at the office this Friday, rejecting a series of legislative proposals.

According to Washington Examiner, the Republican Governor vetoed 48 bills, touching on issues from healthcare to historical taxation.

Among the most contentious bills vetoed by Governor Youngkin were SB 238, which sought to ensure insurance coverage for various contraceptives, and SB 517, which proposed ending tax breaks for Confederate-affiliated organizations.

SB 238 had garnered support from majorities in both the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates. It aimed at mandating insurance companies to cover IUDs and emergency contraceptives like Plan B. Critics of the Governor's decision argue it opposes broad public health interests and individual rights. They suggest that these contraceptives are not only used for birth control but also to manage several health conditions.

Susan Swecker, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, stressed the broader implications of the veto. "By vetoing this bill, Youngkin just proved to Virginians that once again, he does not care about their health or rights," she noted. Critics point out that, contrary to preventing abortions, broad access to birth control can reduce unintended pregnancies. Governor Youngkin, in his defense, argues that Virginians already have sufficient access to birth control. He emphasized the importance of maintaining conscience clause protections and parental rights in such laws.

Intense Criticism Follows Confederate-Related Tax Exemption Veto

The other bill generating significant debate was SB 517. This legislation sought to remove tax exemptions for organizations linked to Confederate history, but Governor Youngkin vetoed it arguing against the fairness and precedent it sets. He expressed concerns that selectively revoking tax exemptions could undermine the integrity of the tax system.

The Governor explained his stance in a public statement. "The Commonwealth should pass necessary reforms regarding exemptions from local property and recordation taxes," he advised. "Singling out specific organizations for gains or losses in tax exemptions sets an inappropriate precedent. … Choosing winners and losers is imprudent and undermines the tax system’s fairness."

Backlash and Forward Political Implications

In response to the series of vetoes, several high-profile Democrats have voiced their objections. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Representative Abigail Spanberger have pointed to these actions as indicative of the Governor's misplaced priorities and have called for opposition in upcoming elections.

Amidst the volley of vetoes, some bills did receive the Governor's approval. These include legislation concerning consumer data protection, teacher licensure, and traffic safety, showcasing a complex legislative agenda.

State Senator Ghazala Hashmi criticized Governor Youngkin's actions, particularly highlighting his selective stance on historical issues against health rights.


Delegate Cia Price expressed deep disappointment over the veto of the contraception bill, emphasizing the wide public support for it. "Despite hearing from literally thousands of Virginians in support of their right to contraception, the Governor chose to stick with the most extreme faction of his party," she said.

The vetoes come at a critical time when public sentiment around health care and historical recognition are highly polarized issues in the US. Moving forward, the Governor's decisions could have lasting impacts on his political capital and the legislative landscape of Virginia.

Governor Glenn Youngkin's recent legislative decisions have ignited a spectrum of responses, piercing into ongoing national debates on women's reproductive rights and the preservation of controversial historical legacies. These actions are certain to influence the political climate as Virginia moves toward future elections.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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