Va. Delegate Introduces Bill That Would Allow Abortions Up to Moment of Birth

Craig Millward | January 30, 2019 | 9:41am EST
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Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran (D) introduces House Bill No. 2491, a bill that would eliminate restrictions on abortion in Virginia and would permit abortions to be performed right up to the moment of birth. (Screenshot)

Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran (D) introduced a bill, House Bill No. 2491, that would eliminate restrictions on abortion in Virginia and would permit abortions to be performed right up to the moment of birth. 

The bill, according to National Review, has the backing of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D).

According to the Summary of HB 2491, the bill would eliminate many restrictions on abortion in Virginia. Below is a listing of the restrictions eliminated by the bill:

“Eliminates 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.”

When questioned by Delegate Todd Gilbert, the House Majority leader, on Monday, Delegate Kathy Tran said the bill would allow abortions to be performed right up to the end of third trimester, when the woman is going into labor.

Below is a transcript of the exchange between Virginia Delegate Gilbert and Delegate Tran: 

Delegate Gilbert: “How late in the third trimester could a physician perform an abortion if he indicated it would impair the mental health of the woman?” 

Delegate Tran: “So, I mean, through the third trimester. The third trimester goes all the way up to 40 weeks.”

Gilbert “Okay? But to the end of the third trimester?”

Tran: “Yep. I don’t think we have a limit in the bill.”

Gilbert: “Where it's obvious the woman is about to give birth, she has physical signs that she is about to give birth, would that still be a point at which she could request an abortion if she was so certified? She is dilating?”

Tran” “Mr. Chairman, that would be a decision that the doctor, the physician and the woman would make at that point.” 

Gilbert “I understand that. I'm asking if your bill allows that.”

Tran: “My bill would allow that. Yes.”

The Virginia Subcommittee in the House Committee for Courts of Justice “recommend[ed] laying on the table” the bill introduced by Delegate Tran on Monday in a 5-3 vote.

Delegates Todd Gilbert (R), James Leftwich Jr. (R), Jeffrey Campbell (R), Margaret Ransone (R), and Robert Bell (R) voted to table the bill, while Delegates Vivian Watts (D), Michael Mullin (D) and Jeffrey Bourne (D) voted against it.

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