VA Lawmakers Aim to Protect Unborn Babies From Painful Abortions After 15 Weeks
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Lawmakers in Virginia introduced a bill Tuesday that would protect the lives of babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Virginia Del. Kathy Byron and Sen. Stephen Newman (R-23) introduced H.B. 2278, a bill that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, instead of the current threshold of 26 weeks.
The bill advances protections for the unborn to at least a point when they clearly feel pain, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin had asked lawmakers to craft legislation that would protect the sanctity of life, just hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe. V. Wade, last June.
"The Supreme Court of the United States has rightfully returned power to the people and their elected representatives in the states," Youngkin said in a statement at that time. "I'm proud to be a pro-life governor and plan to take every action I can to protect life. The truth is, Virginians want fewer abortions, not more abortions."
In Virginia, women's health and pregnancy centers outnumber Planned Parenthood abortion centers 24 to one.
According to a Harvard Caps/Harris Poll, 72% of Americans – including 75% of women, 70% of Independents, and 60% of rank-and-file Democrats – believe there should be limits on abortion no later than 15 weeks of pregnancy.
And only 10% of Americans agree with the Democratic Party's platform of abortion on demand until the moment of birth.
"When it comes to unborn children, we can come together, we can choose life and choose to support mothers, fathers, and families in difficult decisions," Youngkin said Tuesday. "This session I have asked the General Assembly to come together to protect life at 15 weeks, the point when a baby can feel pain.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser praised the legislation.
"We thank our allies Del. Kathy Byron and Sen. Stephen Newman and Governor Youngkin for leading the fight to protect unborn children and mothers from brutal abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Babies in the womb are as human as we are. By 15 weeks they have fully formed organs, fingers, and toes, and can feel excruciating pain," she said in a statement to CBN News.
She added, "This compassionate bill would save as many as 500 lives a year and bring Virginia in line with the overwhelming consensus of Americans, almost two dozen states and counting, and 47 out of 50 European nations that limit abortion at 15 weeks or earlier."
Democrats Control VA Senate
But the bill's outcome is in question, especially after Democrats gained a majority in the Virginia Senate when Democrat Aaron Rouse won a special election Tuesday.
His victory would give Democrats a 22-18 margin in the state's Senate.
Rouse is expected to cast a crucial vote against Youngkin and the GOP's efforts to pass the legislation.
If any Senate Democrats were to cross the aisle to vote for the abortion measure, Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, a pro-life Republican, could potentially cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.
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