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Virginia governor vetoes bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood

Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe attends the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images/Brian Stukes)

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) vetoed legislation Tuesday that would have cut off federal funds to Planned Parenthood and any other abortion providers in his state.

While it was expected, McAuliffe officially announced Tuesday his veto of House Bill 2264 — widely supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats.

"Without access to reproductive care and the freedom to exercise choice, women are denied the choice to make deeply personal health decisions," McAuliffe said at a press conference, according to WTKR-TV. "It’s time that our General Assembly understands that we have a responsibility to protect the rights and dignity of women."

McAuliffe's veto comes after the U.S. House of Representatives voted earlier this month to rescind an Obama administration regulation that prohibited states from defunding Planned Parenthood, the country's largest abortion provider.

As Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said at the time, the legislation was not a vote to defund Planned Parenthood or cut Title X funding to abortion providers.

"We are simply voting today to affirm the right of states to fund the health care providers that best suit their needs, without fear of reprisal from their own federal government," Black said.

Title X is a federal grant program that funds certain family planning and preventive health services.

According to WTKR, Virginia Republican Del. Ben Cline introduced an identical bill to strip federal funds from abortion providers and ensure money is first going to "hospitals, federally qualified health clinics and rural health clinics" in 2016. That legislation passed the House and Senate before it, too, was vetoed by McAuliffe.

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