(CNSNews.com) -- Despite a backlash to similar legislation in 2019, Democrats in the Virginia Senate have proposed an amendment to the state constitution, Joint Resolution 2, which would allow for abortion up to the moment of birth and make abortion a “right” in the state. This follows similar moves in other states.
“Virginia is in a fight for life, literally,” Alison Centofante, director of external affairs for Live Action, told CNSNews.com. “This resolution is out of touch from the American people’s stand on abortion and it is an attempt to legalize the greatest human rights abuse of our time.”
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, said, “Now is the time for Virginia to be the leader in reproductive rights and repeal medically unnecessary barriers that place roadblocks for patient access and improve and expand access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care, including abortion.”
The resolution states, "Amend the Constitution of Virginia by adding in Article I a section numbered 18 as follows: "ARTICLE I BILL OF RIGHTS
"Section 18. Personal Reproductive Liberty.
"That an individual's right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the enjoyment of life and liberty and shall not be denied or infringed upon unless justified by a compelling interest of the Commonwealth and achieved by the least restrictive means."
By calling abortion a “right” in the constitution, the resolution would allow abortion apparently for any reason in the third trimester and only require one physician to certify the procedure. Currently, in Virginia a woman cannot abort her child in the third trimester unless three physicians certify that the pregnancy will damage the “mental or physical health of the woman.”
The proposed amendment does not mention a woman's "mental or physical health," and states "personal reproductive autonomy ... shall not be denied or infringed."
Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation, said that once this proposal becomes an amendment, it would be used to tear away all “common sense” regulations on abortion. These include counseling prior to abortion, a waiting period, insurance limitations, government funding restrictions, and parental consent.
“Anytime you remove protective measures from pregnancies where abortions could occur after the point where babies could survive outside the womb you are potentially talking about infanticide.” Olivia Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life [VSHL], told CNSNews.com. “It would prevent the passage of pro-life laws in the future and it would overrule existing law, thereby putting women and unborn children in grave risk.”
Critics say the resolution does not reflect the values of the American people. According to a Gallup Poll, 72% of Americans want some form of restriction on abortion. According to a national poll conducted by Marist University 75% of Americans say abortion should be limited to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy.
Vermont, Illinois, and New York recently passed laws that make abortion a “fundamental right.”
Last January, Virginia House Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Fairfax) a sponsor of a similar proposal, (HB 2491) admitted on video that the bill would allow for abortion up to the moment of pregnancy.
Moreover, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D), in an attempt to support the bill during a radio interview, said that if a baby survived an abortion, even at the point when a mother is dilating, the child would be “kept comfortable” while the mother and doctor decided what to do.
“If a mother is in labor…the infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and mother,” he said in an interview with WTOP’s “Ask the Governor.”
The statements by Tran and Northam provoked a strong backlash. According to the Washington Post, President Trump and many other Republican politicians denounced Tran, who also claimed that she had received death threats. The reaction was intense enough that it caused Del. Dawn Adams (D-Richmond) to back out as sponsor.
“I vaguely remember signing on to this, and I did this in solidarity with my colleague and as a symbolic gesture for a woman’s right to choose,” Del. Adams wrote in a letter to his constituents.
“Delegate Tran’s bill reveals with alarming clarity what the modern Democratic Party stands for and their agenda for our nation, abortion on demand, up until the moment of delivery and even beyond,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser last January.
CNSNews.com contacted Del. Kathy Tran, Sen. Richard Saslaw, Planned Parenthood Virginia and Progress Virgina for comment but they did not respond. NARAL Virginia declined to respond.