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2019: Abortion access laws

Virginia's Late-term Abortion
Bill died in Committee:

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2019-FEB-05: About House Bill HB 1249:

Virginia state House bill HB1249 "The Repeal Act" 1 would have lowered some existing barriers against late-term abortions. According to the VA Legislative Information System, the bill would have eliminated:

"... the requirement that an abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy and prior to the third trimester be performed in a hospital. The bill eliminates all the procedures and processes, including the performance of an ultrasound, required to effect a woman's informed written consent to the performance of an abortion; however, the bill does not change the requirement that a woman's informed written consent be first obtained. 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. The bill also removes language classifying facilities that perform five or more first-trimester abortions per month as hospitals for the purpose of complying with regulations establishing minimum standards for hospitals."

(The highlighted words were not colored in the original text. They were highlighted here for emphasis.)

The bill would have only required one physician to certify that a third trimester abortion is necessary to prevent the woman's death or health impairment.

According to the Business Insider web site, the bill:

"... died in Committee, but not before catching fire on social media where it was accused of enabling infanticide.

Public comments made by the main author of the bill, Delegate Kathy Tran, and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam were either confusing, misleading, or taken out of context to appear as if the bill would facilitate the killing of viable, late-term fetuses.

In reality, the bill would have reduced the number of physicians required to sign off on a late-term abortion and removed the requirement that a pregnancy would "substantially and irreparably" damage the patient's health." 2

The bill was even accused of allowing infanticide -- killing a newborn.

Delegate Kathy Tran (D), 41, had introduced the bill.   2

Under current VA law, a woman can freely decide to obtain an abortion up to 20 weeks pregnancy. That is:

  • before fetus can live outside of the womb, and

  • a month before the the fetus' higher brain functions activate and allows the fetus to develop consciousness or sense pain.

For a later abortion, she must first obtain a statement from three phsicians that to continue the pregnancy would:

  1. "... result in the death of the woman ....

  2. or substantially and irreparably impair the mental or physical health of the woman."

If the bill had become law, it would have reduced the number of statements from three physicians to one.

Elizabeth Nash, a senior state-issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute said:

"I think the "substantially and irreparably" language was a bit vague, ... What the bill would have done then is allow patients in life and health endangering situations obtain the health care that they need in a timely manner from their providers without undue political interference. ... It wouldn't be used casually, because providers follow their training and medical ethics as well as the law."

It generated a massive uproar in the media. Delegate Tran responded with a video:

3

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Tucker Higgins, writing for CNBC, said:

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that virtually all U.S. abortions occur within 13 weeks of gestation and two-thirds of abortions occur within eight weeks. About 1 percent of abortions take place after 21 weeks." 4

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2019-FEB-05: President Trump weighs in:

During his State of the Union address, President Trump said:

"To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb."

He seems to have implied that a human life only becomes a "human person" at 24 weeks gestation.

He cited:

"the case of the Governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth. ... Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children -– born and unborn -– are made in the holy image of God." 4

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "HB 2491 Abortion; eliminate certain requirements," VA Legislative Information System, at: http://lis.virginia.gov/
  2. Grace Panetta, " "A controversial Virginia bill expanding access to late-term abortion sparked outrage on social media and was incorrectly accused of enabling 'infanticide'," Business Insider, 2019-FEB-01, at: https://www.businessinsider.com/
  3. Stephen Kokx, "In new video, Virginia legislator downplays abortion until birth bill she proposed," Life Site News, 2019-JAN-31, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/
  4. "Trump pushes late-term abortion ban, citing Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's controversial remarks," CNBC, 2019-FEB-05, at: https://www.cnbc.com/

 

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Copyright Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2019-FEB-06
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