Thousands of people are expected to march near the State Capitol on Wednesday for the Virginia March for Life. The march is being organized by a partnership between The Family Foundation, Virginia Catholic Conference, the Virginia Society for Human Life, and the national March for Life, CNA reports.
At the end of January during the 2019 General Assembly session, Virginia neared a critical legislative point that could have led the Commonwealth down the path of New York in repealing all meaningful restrictions on abortion, including terminations up until the moment of birth, under the provisions of a bill backed by Governor Ralph Northam (D) and a substantial number of Democratic lawmakers.
The Repeal Act, introduced as H.B. 2491 by Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Springfield), would repeal restrictions on third trimester abortions, 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.
During her presentation of the bill in a House subcommittee, Delegate Tran said third trimester abortions would face substantially fewer restrictions.
“How late in the third trimester could a physician perform an abortion if he indicated it would impair the mental health of the woman,” subcommittee chairman Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) asked.
“Through the third trimester,” Tran responded. “The third trimester goes all the way up to forty weeks.”
Delegate Tran also clarified that abortion procedures would be allowed up until the end of a woman’s pregnancy.
“I don’t think we have a limit in the bill,” she added.
In response to a question from House Majority Leader Gilbert, Tran also suggested that partial-birth abortions would be subject to the bill’s repeal of existing restrictions on the procedure.
“Where it’s obvious that a woman is about to give birth, that 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?” Gilbert asked.
“She’s dilating,” he continued. “I’m asking if your bill allows that.”
“My bill would allow that, yes,” Tran affirmed.
Upon further questioning, Delegate Tran explicitly addressed the hypothetical case of aborting a healthy infant, one week before the mother’s due date, on grounds of mental health.
“I certainly could have said a week from her due date and that would have been the same answer, correct?” Gilbert continued.
“That it’s allowed in the bill? Yes,” Tran said.
54 percent – a majority – of Democratic lawmakers sponsored Delegate Tran’s late-term abortion bill, in addition to Governor Northam, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D), and Attorney General Mark Herring (D).
Nevertheless, comments surrounding the bill became far more menacing in the days following when the political leader of the Commonwealth alluded to infanticide.
During a morning address on WTOP’s “Ask The Governor” segment, Governor Northam commented on the situation surrounding the response to Tran’s bill by saying the widespread reaction was “blown out of proportion.”
Explaining it himself, he said the following:
“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. 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 the mother.”
In the two months since the bill was presented, pro-life advocates across the nation have become outraged, and multiple marches and rallies have set their sights on Virginia.
The march’s eventbrite page states that pro-lifers will appear on the grounds of the statehouse at 1000 Bank Street in downtown Richmond from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3.
“Many in our state legislature have recently come out in support of efforts to expand abortion availability through birth. This is unacceptable,” the group said. “Join us in the first Virginia March For Life at our state capitol on April 3 to show our lawmakers that Virginians stand for life.”