Virginia lawmaker hits hurdle trying to pass bill to make abortions easier

Gov. Ralph Northam supports the bill

(Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. – Lawmakers in the Virginia General Assembly have suspended consideration of a controversial House bill that would legalize abortion up to birth.

Kathy K.L. Tran, a Democratic delegate from northern Virginia, introduced HB 2491, which would lessen restrictions when it comes to abortions in the Commonwealth. 

Under current law, an abortion during the third trimester in Virginia requires a doctor as well as two physicians to conclude that continuing the pregnancy would likely result in the woman's death or damage to the mother's mental or physical health. 

The proposed legislation would only require one doctor to make the determination that the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. It also eliminates the requirement that abortions during the second trimester be performed in a hospital. 

That includes allowing abortion in the last three months of pregnancy, permitting late-term abortions to be performed in outpatient clinics and removing anti-abortion initiatives, such as ultrasound requirements and the state's 24-hour waiting period.

Gov. Ralph Northam supports the bill.

"We want the government not to be involved in these types of decisions. We want the decision to be made by the mothers and their providers and this is why legislators, most of whom are men, shouldn't be telling a woman what she should and shouldn't be doing with her body," said Northam during an interview with WTOP.

House of Delegates Majority Leader C. Todd Gilbert, a Republican, sent 10 News this statement:

"I think what my Democratic colleagues are most concerned about is what this moment actually revealed. It was a moment of unbridled honesty about their agenda."