Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood Vetoed in Virginia

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Protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., March 2, 2016. On Saturday, rallies in support of defunding Planned Parenthood will take place in dozens of states. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have blocked funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions and other health services.

The bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature would have barred the state from providing funds to clinics that perform abortions not covered by Medicaid, the federal healthcare program for the poor.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, said the measure would harm thousands of Virginians who relied on Planned Parenthood healthcare services and programs. He vetoed a similar measure last year.

"Attempts to restrict women's access to health care will impede the goal of making Virginia the best place to live, work, and run a business," he said in a statement.

Advocates for the law had said it would underpin organizations that provide the widest range of services.

Planned Parenthood draws the ire of many Republicans because it provides abortions. Republican President Donald Trump has pledged to defund the organization.