RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) broke a tie in the Virginia Senate on Wednesday to pass a measure loosening abortion restrictions, legislation which had already advanced through the House the day before.

Senators were deadlocked at a 20-20 vote, making Fairfax’s tie-breaking vote essential for the legislation to pass. Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), who introduced Senate Bill 733, tweeted from the Senate floor after the vote.

McClellan’s measure gets rid of a 2012 law mandating women to get ultrasounds and to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion. While each bill passed, they must again be approved by the other chamber before making it to Gov. Northam’s desk.

“This is a historic step forward for women’s health in Virginia. This bill will remove onerous state mandates that serve no medical purpose,” Sen. McClellan said in a statement. “Government should not insert itself between a woman and her provider in the deeply personal decision to terminate a pregnancy. I fought against these restrictions when they were enacted, and will always fight to protect a woman’s right to choose.”

The Family Foundation, a “faith-based organization” opposing abortion, expressed disappointment after both measures were passed.

Today, abortion industry controlled elected officials in the General Assembly voted to ensure that the industry’s profit increases at the expense of women and unborn lives. Women making life-altering decisions deserve the dignity of a doctor giving her the best information available and no less expertise than when they obtain any other outpatient surgery.” said Victoria Cobb.  

Polls such as the one just released this month by the Kaiser Family Foundation show most Americans support Virginia’s existing law allowing a 24 hour waiting period, informed consent including the right to see one’s ultrasound and only doctors performing the abortion.  

“While abortion supporters may have seen legislative success today, a new generation of Americans recognize legal abortion as the human rights crisis of today. Pro-life Americans will continue to lead this nation to a place where abortion is not just illegal, but unimaginable.”

The Family Foundation

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