After passing in the House of Delegates, Virginia state senators have voted in favor of a radical new abortion bill, HB980. The law would eliminate regulations such as the state’s 24-hour waiting period and informed consent laws. Non-physicians such as physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified-nurse midwives would be added to the list of people allowed to commit abortions, and ambulatory surgical center standards for abortion facilities would be removed.
Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the legislation, an action that appears to align with Gov. Ralph Northam’s pro-choice views. The Virginia Governor once expressed support for a previous Virginia abortion bill proposed by state delegate Kathy Tran that intended to allow for abortions up to the point where the woman was in labor.
During an interview with a local radio show, Northam also stated that the decision about what to do with a child born alive after an abortion was between “the physicians and the mother.”
Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia praised the bill for repealing regulations that were all about “shaming women, stigmatizing abortion, shutting off access, [and] discouraging doctors from providing this care.” Keene also stressed the need for Virginia to be a “safe haven” for women seeking abortions in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Concerns have been raised about HB 980, as unsafe conditions have been reported in Virginia abortion clinics. The motivation behind putting strict abortion regulations into place had been because inspections of every single abortion facility uncovered major health and safety violations. This included staffers being ignorant of which instruments had previously been used and which ones were clean, and clinics were found to be storing expired drugs.
In one egregious case, a freezer filled with blood and the frozen remains that had spilled out was discovered at an abortion facility. With HB 980 being sent to radical Gov. Northam’s desk, it seems likely that it will be signed into law.