February 12, 2021

Access to Prenatal Care for Undocumented Women Moving forward at the General Assembly  

“We have erased the margins that have excluded undocumented women from  access to care to have healthy pregnancies and positive birth experiences.”  – Dora Muhammad, VICPP Health Equity Program Manager 

RICHMOND, VA – The push to provide prenatal care to undocumented women in Virginia cleared a major legislative hurdle this week with the release of the proposed budgets by the House and Senate.  

Yesterday both House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees included a budget amendment proposed by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) that would enact a federal provision that would extend Virginia’s CHIP/FAMIS program coverage of prenatal care services to expectant mothers regardless of citizenship status who meet all other eligibility criteria. 

 “We thank Delegate Elizabeth Guzman and Senator Jennifer McClellan for championing this amendment as patrons, House Appropriations Chairman Delegate Luke Torian for elevating it as a priority by highlighting it in his opening remarks during Wednesday’s budget announcement, and the members of our maternal health coalition who supported our PUSH campaign,” said Dora Muhammad VICPP’s Health Equity Program Manager. 

Coalition members include: ACLU Virginia, Birth in Color RVA, Celebrate Healthcare, Consortium for Infant and Child Health Equity (CINCH), Families Forward Virginia, Inova Partnership for Healthier Communities, League of Women Voters of Virginia, March of Dimes Virginia, Postpartum Support Virginia, United Community (formerly United Community Ministries), United Methodist Women, Urban Baby Beginnings, Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO), Virginia Poverty Law Center, Voices for Virginia’s Children, and Young Invincibles. The budget amendment also drew the support of the Governor’s Office of Health Equity, Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), and the Healthcare for All Virginians (HAV) Coalition. 

Each chamber will now move its amended budget bill to the floor for discussion and vote, and then into budget conference to negotiate the differences to prepare the final budget bill for adoption.   

DMAS calculated that this policy change would save the Commonwealth $2.3 million in shifting labor and delivery costs from Emergency Medicaid to CHIP/FAMIS as well as add $7.2 million in higher federal matching dollars for CHIP/FAMIS reimbursements. 


“The inclusion of our amendment in both budgets demonstrates its fiscal strength and health impact. Its inclusion in the uncontested block of budget amendments agreed to today by each chamber further reinforces its position to be exempt from the inevitable compromises facing lawmakers as they continue their hard work to finalize the budget,” said Ms. Muhammad.  “Virginia is now positioned to become the 18th state in the country to enact this option, which will move the Commonwealth one step closer to eliminating its racial disparities in maternal health.” 



Roberta Oster
Communications Director
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy