Virginia Republicans on Tuesday killed legislation that would have loosened abortion restrictions after the bill’s sponsor admitted it would allow the procedure even after a mother went into labor.
A House subcommittee voted 5-3 to table H.R. 2491, called the Repeal Act, with all Republicans voting to table it and all Democrats voting against.
“Virginia House Democrats proposed legislation to allow abortions up to just seconds before that precious child takes their first breath,” the Virginia House Republicans said on Facebook. “Watch for yourself. Thankfully, our strong conservative majority was able to defeat this bill.”
In a viral video, Democratic Delegate Kathy Tran acknowledged Tuesday that her bill would permit abortions at 40 weeks, the end of the third trimester, if deemed necessary to protect her mental or physical health.
“Heartbreaking,” tweeted the Virginia House GOP. “This isn’t in New York, this isn’t in California, this happened just this week right here in Virginia.”
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin called it a “sad commentary on the culture of death that continues to creep insidiously into the laws of our country.”
During the subcommittee hearing, House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert asked Ms. Tran if it would be legal under her bill for a woman to receive an abortion after dilation begins.
“Mr. Chairman, you know, that would be a decision that the doctor — the physician — and the woman would make,” Ms. Tran said.
“I understand that. I’m asking if your bill allows that,” Mr. Gilbert said.
“My bill would allow that, yes,” Ms. Tran said.
Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, defended the bill in a Wednesday radio interview, saying “more than one physician” would make the determination, although the bill specifically would eliminate the state’s current three-doctor requirement.
The H.B. 2491 summary reads: “The bill eliminates the requirement that two other physicians certify that a third trimester abortion is necessary to prevent the woman’s death or impairment of her mental or physical health, as well as the need to find that any such impairment to the woman’s health would be substantial and irremediable.”
Mr. Northam, a former pediatric neurologist, said: “When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother, with the consent of the physician — more than one physician, by the way — and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities.”
“There may be a fetus that’s non-viable,” he said on WTOP during the “Ask the Governor” segment, according to National Review.
Democrats in several states have introduced legislation to “codify” the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, but some bills go beyond the ruling by loosening restrictions on abortions up to 40 weeks’ gestation.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed last week the Reproductive Healthcare Act, which allows abortions up to 40 weeks to protect the woman’s mental or physical health.
“With the cheers of New York legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo over the signing of now a law allowing abortion up to the moment of birth still ringing in our ears, Virginia legislators rush to join in, essentially working for legal infanticide,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.