Pro-abortion Senators in Virginia have blocked a bill that would have prevented most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill, introduced by Senator Amanda Chase, would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks unless the mother’s life was at risk or she faced serious damage to a major bodily function (although abortion is never medically necessary). It failed to pass the Senate Education and Health Committee with a 9-6 party-line vote.
According to ABC News, similar legislation is currently being considered in the House, but legislators are not confident in its advancement. “We are not docketing the 20-week bill,” said Delegate Rob Bell, chair of the House Courts of Justice Committee. “We do not see a path for that bill to pass the House and Senate and get to the governor’s desk.”
Planned Parenthood hailed the bill’s block. “Like all abortion restrictions, this ban was designed to deny people power over their own bodies, lives, and futures and would have been devastating for patients,” said Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia Executive Director Jamie Lockhart. “Planned Parenthood trusts Virginians to make their own decisions about their health care in consultation with their trusted providers – not politicians.”
Senator Siobhan Dunnavant told the Richmond Times-Dispatch about her disappointment with the vote. “We are out of sync with the rest of the world,” she said. “We are out of sync with medicine. We are out of sync with good sense. And it is time for us to look at bills like this and do the right thing.”
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that there is one anti-abortion Democratic senator, Joe Morrissey, who has previously indicated that he would vote for legislation that would ban abortions after 15 weeks, so long as it contains exceptions for rape and incest. Should a bill of that nature reach the full Senate and result in a deadlock, Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears would be the tie vote. Sears has previously stated that she “supports the babies in the womb.”
Despite this bill’s block, there is other positive pro-life news in the state. Newly-elected Governor Glenn Youngkin has already cemented his position as a defender of life, even going so far as to create an “ambassador for unborn children” within his administration. The state’s new attorney general, Jason Miyares, has also made pro-life strides by removing the state’s name in an amicus brief that was previously filed in support of abortion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
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