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Virginia

Refusal to Provide Medical Services

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Virginia allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide abortion services.

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Individuals, physicians, hospitals, or medical facilities.

What does the refusal clause allow? Any person who objects in writing on personal, ethical, moral, or religious grounds may not be required to participate in procedures that result in an abortion. No physician, hospital, or medical facility may be required to admit a woman for the purpose of providing abortion care. The refusal of a person, hospital, or medical facility to participate in abortion services may not be a basis for a claim for damages, denial of employment, disciplinary action, or any other recriminatory action.

Must the refusal be in writing? Yes.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected? No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised? No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for abortion services? No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause? No.

Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-75 (Enacted 1975).

FAMILY-PLANNING REFUSAL CLAUSE

Virginia allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide family-planning information and referrals. 

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Hospitals.

What does the refusal clause allow? No hospital operating under the auspices of a religious institution, that objects on the basis of religion, may be required to distribute lists of family-planning providers to maternity patients prior to their release.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected? No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised? No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for family-planning services? No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause? No.

Va. Code Ann. § 32.1-134 (Enacted 1979).


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