Virginia delegate proposes 20-week abortion ban

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Republican state delegate has proposed a bill that would ban abortions in Virginia after 20 weeks unless the mother is at risk of death or serious damage to a major bodily function.

Of the. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) filed HB 1274, titled the “Law on the protection of the unborn child capable of pain”, in the Virginia House of Delegates on Thursday.

“The law prohibits an abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation unless, in reasonable medical judgment, the mother suffers from a condition which complicates her state of health to such an extent as to necessitate the abortion to avoid her death or to avoid a risk serious and irreversible physical impairment of a child. major bodily function,” the measurement reads.

With Governor Glenn Youngkin in power and House Republicans now in the majority, the legislation could have the votes to become law in Virginia.

Youngkin reiterated that he was pro-life but supported exceptions for rape, incest and where the mother’s life is in danger. Freitas’ bill does not mention exceptions for rape or incest.

As Democrats hold a 21-19 majority in the Virginia Senate, State Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) joined Republicans in 2020 to vote against a bill who abolished the rules requiring women to wait 24 hours and have an ultrasound before having an abortion.

The bill passed the House with a deciding vote from former Democratic Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. Republican Lt. Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, who will sever ties in the House for the next four years, signaled his support for tougher abortion laws like Texas’s during his campaign.

Morrissey has described himself as “shamelessly pro-life” and has previously said he would support a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks, provided it included exceptions for rape and incest. Morrissey was unavailable for an interview when 8News contacted his office on Friday.

Freitas’ bill would require doctors and nurse practitioners who perform abortions after 20 weeks to give “the unborn child the best chance of survival.” If passed and signed by Youngkin, people who perform abortions in violation of the proposed law would face a Class 6 felony.

In Virginia, those convicted of a class 6 felony could serve a five-year prison sentence and be fined $2,500. Doctors and nurse practitioners who perform an abortion after 20 weeks without the mother being in danger of death or irreversible damage could be subject to civil action.

Several attempts to reach Del. Freitas failed on Friday.

Protecting abortion rights was a top priority for Virginia Democrats and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe ahead of the Nov. 2 election. Citing Texas law, McAuliffe repeated his concerns that Youngkin and GOP state lawmakers would seek changes to Commonwealth abortion laws if they win the statewide election. State and House.

Texas abortion law prohibits abortions if heart activity is detectable, which begins around six weeks and before many women know they are pregnant. It also allows ordinary citizens to enforce it by bringing civil suits against abortion providers and anyone who “aids or abets” a procedure.

During the election campaign, McAuliffe claimed that Youngkin wanted to “turn Virginia into Texas”, pointing to Youngkin’s remarks on abortion in a secretly recorded video released in July.

In the video, Youngkin is pressed by a liberal activist posing as an anti-abortion supporter whether he would support funding for Planned Parenthood and a so-called fetal heart rate bill.

After Youngkin said he was “unabashedly” pro-life, another person asked him to stop funding Planned Parenthood and bring it “to the abortionists.” Youngkin replies that pushing the issue won’t get him the independent votes he needs to win, but he thinks Republicans can go “on the attack” if the Virginia House turns red.

“I’m going to be really honest with you. The short answer is, in this campaign, I can’t. When I’m governor and have a majority in the House, we can start attacking each other. But as a campaign issue, unfortunately, it won’t win my independent votes that I need to get,” Youngkin said in the music video. “So you’ll never hear me supporting Planned Parenthood. What you will hear me talking about is actually taking back the radical abortion policies that Virginians don’t want.


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