Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam used Good Friday to sign into law legislation wiping away many of the state’s restrictions on abortion.
Senate Bill 733 and House Bill 980, passed by the Democratic majorities in each house of Virginia’s General Assembly, rescind restrictions that had previously been imposed, including a 24-hour waiting period to get an abortion, a requirement to undergo an ultrasound and mandated counseling about alternatives to abortion for a woman who wants to obtain one.
The bills, which are identical, allow individuals who are not physicians to perform abortions.
Further, the legislation permits abortion clinics to avoid meeting building safety standards that other outpatient treatment clinics must abide by.
“No more will legislators in Richmond — most of whom are men — be telling women what they should and should not be doing with their bodies,” Northam said in a statement. “The Reproductive Health Protection Act will make women and families safer, and I’m proud to sign it into law.”
The lesiglation takes effect July 1.
“When this legislation goes into effect, Virginians will no longer have to navigate an obstacle course of delays and barriers in order to access a safe and legal abortion,” Jamie Lockhart, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said, according to WHSV.
Republican state Delegate Kathy Byron has said the rule requiring that a doctor be the one to perform an abortion was first put in place in 1975, CNN reported.
“What we’re doing today is voting to deny women complete information on what an abortion means, its consequences, its implications, its alternatives and the time to consider this life-ending decision, maybe one of the most important decision that they ever make,” Byron said in February. “We’re making a terrible mistake.”
The legislation provoked intense discussion on Twitter:
🎉 IT’S OFFICIAL! 🎉 @GovernorVA just signed the Reproductive Health Protection Act into law, expanding reproductive freedom and access to abortion for Virginians! Thank you @JennMcClellanVA and @C_Herring for your leadership to get the job done! #ReproFreedom4VA pic.twitter.com/8q8hxrROOe
— NIRH Action Fund (@NIRHAction) April 10, 2020
So sad to live in a state and w leadership focused on forwarding abortion advocacy at this time in history:
Gov. Northam signs Virginia Reproductive Health Protection Act https://t.co/yjFQjNaBrM
— Jeanne F. Mancini (@jeannemfl) April 11, 2020
Ralph Northam, who wants to legalize late-term abortion & infanticide, signed an extreme abortion bill on Good Friday. The bill repeals most restrictions on abortion & rolls back safety standards in abortion clinics.
This is horrible & should be reversed! https://t.co/dsNasBBc5k
— Michelle Fischbach (@FischbachMN7) April 11, 2020
This is what a blackface wearing dem said would happen if a baby survived an abortion. It still would not be out of the woods and could be killed if that is what the mother wanted…and he is still the gov of Virginia. This is what we have come to; lefties can do no wrong. https://t.co/Km08VBlGw4
— RileyL (@rileytheroyal) April 11, 2020
Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, called the legislation “horribly destructive,” and said it “will undermine the role of law to protect and guide.”
“This bill lowers the basic, common sense health and safety standards that abortion facilities must meet, degrades women’s care, and will result in unsafe abortionists operating with even more impunity,” she said in a statement to Breitbart News. “The bill eliminates reflection periods for women seeking an abortion while denying vulnerable women the full truth on what abortion means, what abortion is, and what abortion does.
“The most heartbreaking part of this travesty to me personally is its repeal of the lifesaving ultrasound requirement in Virginia. When I went in for my abortion, scared and only 19 years old, I was denied the option to see the ultrasound of my baby. I asked, but the abortion worker said no. Now women all over the commonwealth of Virginia will be denied that basic right as well. It would have changed the course of my life. Women deserve better.”
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