Unplanned Pregnancy Center CEO Discusses Proposed Abortion Bill

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

STAUNTON, Va. -- ComfortCare CEO Sommer Hansen helps more than 400 women a year figure out what to do if they face an unplanned pregnancy.

“Serving women in unplanned pregnancy is a calling because it's a circumstance that doesn't just affect their physical body. It's a spiritual, emotional and relational issue,” said Hansen.

A proposed bill in Virginia would prevent Medicaid from subsidizing abortions for low-income women if the doctor says the baby would be born with physical deformity or mental issue. For Hansen, the bill is more than what's proposed.

“The truth is that this bill isn't about abortion access. This bill is about money.”

ComfortCare works as a non-profit and operates with money from the community. That means ComfortCare also operates without any political affiliation.

“We believe in education, we believe in women, and we believe in life-affirming options. We would be darned if money would ever stop us from truly doing what we believe serves women.”

Shajuan Lee, a Mary Baldwin College freshman, said the bill could discriminate against lower-income women.

“Abortion, they know how much it costs, so they'll find the money if they really want an abortion. It's unfair to them, even if they do have a lower-income,” said Lee.

Hansen said the proposed bill wouldn't affect the organization's mission, since it works without any money from the federal or state government.

“We respect that at ComfortCare women's health that people may not want to fund our mission, and I think that this bill is just asking people on the other side of the issue to do the same.

The bill will be up for debate once this year's General Assembly starts. There are several other abortion-related bills up for discussion this session. Another would increase the penalties for doctors that perform sex-selective abortions.

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