Tomorrow, February 7, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., hundreds of pro-life advocates and Virginians will be marching on the State Capitol at 1000 Bank Street in Richmond. The rally, dubbed “Commonwealth for Life: March on Richmond,” was organized in the wake of the Democratic Party’s support for Delegate Kathy Tran’s sweeping late-term abortion bill, and Governor Ralph Northam’s subsequent “infanticide” comments.
Thus far, according to its Facebook page, the march has gathered national attention with at least 2,700 interested families and over 500 people signed up to appear.
The bill that has sent emotionally-charged shockwaves throughout the state and the nation at-large is H.B. 2491, patroned by Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Springfield), which would repeal restrictions on third trimester abortions.
The legislation would allow abortion doctors to self-certify the necessity of late-term procedures, eliminate informed consent requirements, repeal abortion clinic health and safety standards, permit late-term abortions to be performed in outpatient clinics, remove ultrasound requirements, and eliminate Virginia’s 24-hour waiting period.
Also known as the “Repeal Act,” it was touted by Governor Northam during his “State of the Commonwealth” address given earlier this month in Richmond before the beginning of the 46-day General Assembly session. Northam, a former Army medical doctor and pediatric neurologist, relayed to lawmakers that he would help create a “fundamental right” to abortion within the Virginia Code.
Under current law, third trimester abortions require the certification of two independent doctors, both of whom must verify that the continuation of the pregnancy would “substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman.”
Delegate Tran’s bill would substantially relax that standard, removing the words “substantially and irremediably,” allowing the doctor performing the abortion to self-certify the procedure without a second opinion, even in cases where a healthy infant could be delivered without risk of physical harm to the expectant mother.
Much contention has surrounded the necessity to relax meaningful restrictions protecting the unborn. The graph below shows that in the last three years, not one third trimester abortion has been performed in the Commonwealth.
Furthermore, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reports that in the 21st Century – the last 19 years – only two third trimester abortions have been performed.
Over the weekend, a crowd exceeding 750 rallied outside Delegate Tran’s eventually-cancelled town hall in opposition to her bill. Pro-life leaders throughout Virginia denounced the legislation and pledged to fight through November’s elections.