- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Virginia Senate Finance committee Tuesday morning killed a bill that would repeal state funding for low-income women to have abortions if a doctor determines their child will be born with a physical deformity or mental deficiency.

The vote follows the defeat of a “personhood” measure that would define life as beginning at conception and the watering down of a bill mandating that women undergo ultrasound imaging before having an abortion

Delegate Mark L. Cole, Spotsylvania Republican, said that the bill was simply intended to bring Virginia in line with the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funding for abortions.

Opponents argued that the funding was a last lifeline for women who would not be able to afford either the procedure or raising such a child.

Sen. Ralph S. Northam, Norfolk Democrat, had added an amendment so that children born to a qualifying woman eligible for Medicaid waivers would be provided with the waivers.

Joe Flores, a legislative analyst for the Senate committee, said that there would be an “unknown but high cost” if the children ended up being carried to term.

“I think that [Republicans] ignored the pleas from women for government to stay out of their personal decisions,” Senator Janet D. Howell, Fairfax Democrat, said after the vote. “They’re now responding to the business community saying Virginia’s becoming an embarrassment.”

Ms. Howell declined to speculate on the outcome of a vote on the ultrasound bill scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

It no longer mandates an invasive transvaginal procedure before a woman can have an abortion, but a vote was still delayed Monday.

“People seem to be shifting their positions, so we’ll have to wait and see,” Ms. Howell said.