Senator Boysko works to ensure that all Virginians have access to high-quality affordable healthcare. In particular, she is a fierce advocate for women’s healthcare, including access to safe abortions and contraception. She is honored to have helped pass Medicaid expansion in the state, expanding coverage to over 400,000 Viriginians.
Safe and Legal Reproductive Healthcare, including Abortion Care
The right to a safe, legal abortion and access to contraception are cornerstones of our healthcare system. A leader for reproductive rights for years, Senator Boysko sponsored a constitutional amendment to protect abortion access in Virginia in the 2023 General Assembly Session. Senator Boysko and her Senate Democratic colleagues blocked efforts to criminalize abortion following the Dobbs decision. Recent attacks on medication abortion make it clear that this fight is not over. Senator Boysko has sponsored a number of bills protecting access including the Whole Woman’s Health Act to remove abortion from Virginia’s criminal code and to end medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion. She also spoke out on the floor in favor of funding for the Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) program which passed in May 2018. Additionally, Senator Boysko serves on the Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council, a group that provides leadership nationwide to protect and advance reproductive rights, health, and justice.
Senator Boysko has worked closely at the grassroots level with REPRO Rising (formerly NARAL) and Planned Parenthood since she was a college student at Hollins University in the mid-1980s and continues this collaboration today.
Expanding Medicaid in Virginia
Senator Boysko was part of the effort to pass Medicaid expansion, one of her proudest accomplishments. This achievement created the opportunity for up to 400,000 more Virginians to receive healthcare. In the future, she hopes to fund additional Medicaid waivers to shorten the waiting list and provide critical home and community-based services for qualified individuals. Senator Boysko passed legislation to ensure that Medicaid and FAMIS recipients can obtain a full 12 months of birth control.
With the federal government’s decision to end the COVID Public Health Emergency, the states are now unwinding the extension of Medicaid benefits without annual renewal requirements. Thousands of people are projected to lose coverage. Senator Boysko will work to ensure that all of those who qualify remain covered.
Insurance Coverage for Doulas
Senator Boysko understands how important doula care is for pregnant and postpartum mothers and their babies. She sponsored a bill to require coverage of doula care by health insurance carriers which is now being studied by the Health Insurance Reform Commission.
Support for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Survivors
Senator Boysko is a member of the Task Force for Services for Sexual Assault Survivors. She has sponsored and supported legislation to support survivors.
Substance Abuse Harm Reduction
Senator Boysko has been recognized for her work to fight addiction by the Chris Atwood Foundation – her partners in working to allow harm reduction groups to train people in the use of NARCAN and to distribute NARCAN. She also passed legislation to incentivize the reporting of drug overdoses by ensuring that the person calling for help will not be arrested for purchase, possession, or use of a controlled substance. Senator Boysko co-patroned a bill in the 2023 Session to expand the number of peer counselors available by eliminating allowing the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, direct care service providers, and community boards to hire peer recovery specialists who have been convicted of certain barrier crimes where a history of such offense does not pose a risk in the work of a peer recovery specialist.
Increased funding for human services
Senator Boysko hopes to build upon the work Virginia has done expanding Medicaid. She supports increased funding for mental health treatment, including additional funds for our overburdened Community Service Boards. Virginia ranks eighth in per capita income and yet is 47th in Medicaid spending for persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities. States nationwide set their own income and asset eligibility criteria within federal guidelines, and we in Virginia should do better to support those who need support.
Access to menstrual supplies is required to leave home during menstruation, a natural process over which we have no control. There is no justification for taxing something only half the population needs. In 2019, Governor Northam signed The Dignity Act, a bill sponsored by Senator Boysko, that lowered the sales tax on menstrual products. And in 2022, Senator Boysko passed a bill to remove the state tax on menstrual supplies! Senator Boysko also worked to pass a bill that makes menstrual products available for free in schools throughout Virginia, ensuring that students are not kept away from school if they lack menstrual supplies.