RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As expected, Republican lawmakers have introduced bills to ban abortions after 15 weeks in Virginia.
Del. Kathy Byron (R-Bedford) and state Sen. Stephen Newman (R-Bedford), two of four state lawmakers tapped by Gov. Glenn Youngkin to work on the legislation, have filed measures to prohibit procedures after 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger.
With Democrats heading towards a 22-18 majority in the state Senate, any attempt to overhaul Virginia’s access to abortion is unlikely.
Democrat Aaron Rouse is expected to be sworn in Friday, but Youngkin told reporters inside the state Capitol before the start of the General Assembly session that Rouse’s victory doesn’t change his agenda this year.
Virginia allows abortions up until the second trimester of pregnancy — or about 26 weeks — and after the second trimester only when three doctors conclude “the continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the woman or substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman.”
Under the legislation filed by Byron and Newman, physicians who perform or attempt to perform abortions after that threshold would face a Class 4 felony that carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a possible $100,000 fine.
Their proposals would also require all procedures after the 15-week mark to be performed “in a hospital licensed by the State Department of Health or operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.”