RICHMOND, Virginia (LifeSiteNews) – Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates have defeated legislation that would have submitted to the voters a proposed amendment to establish a “right” to abortion in the Virginia Constitution.
ABC affiliate WRIC reported that the amendment would have added a “right to make and effectuate one’s own decisions about all matters related to one’s pregnancy,” including abortion, except when there is a “compelling state interest,” to “ensure the protection of the health of an individual seeking care, consistent with accepted clinical standards of practice and evidence-based medicine.”
In other words, abortion could be regulated in the interest of women’s health (though potentially constrained by legal arguments that regulations such as admitting privilege requirements infringe on the “right” to abort), but not in the interest of the preborn child’s life, health, or safety.
A partisan 5-3 vote of the House of Delegates Courts of Justice subcommittee rejected the amendment earlier this month, after which Democrat state Del. Marcus Simon pushed to force a floor vote by the full House on the measure. An amendment would have to be passed twice by the legislature before it could be submitted to the voters.
On Thursday, February 23, however, a motion to reject Simon’s motion passed 50-45, killing it.
“Those Democrat Delegates who attempted to force this amendment to be voted on this week are the same ones who voted against a bill to provide compassionate life-saving treatment to a baby who survives an abortion and opposed a website to be set up by the Virginia Department of Health designed to list free help available in the state to help mothers.” said Olivia Gans Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life. “Sadly, the pro-abortion Democrats in the House and Senate are not willing to support the kinds of rational bills that many Virginians do in fact think should be passed.”
Across the country, Planned Parenthood has suspended abortions and/or closed locations in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last June to overturn Roe v. Wade, and pro-life attorneys general have declared their intentions to enforce their states’ duly enacted abortion prohibitions.
But leftists prosecutors in various localities have vowed not to enforce such laws, and pro-abortion activists have refocused efforts on interstate distribution of abortion pills, supporting interstate travel for abortion, and enshrining “rights” to abortion in state constitutions, effectively insulating the practice from ordinary state legislation.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has called on Congress to codify a “right” to abortion in federal law, which would not only restore but expand upon the Roe status quo by making it illegal for states to pass virtually any pro-life laws. Democrats currently lack the votes to do so, but whether they get those votes is sure to be one of the major issues of the 2024 elections.
In Virginia, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has expressed optimism about enacting a ban of abortions past 15 weeks, though prospects for legislation in either direction are complicated by the state’s divided legislature; Democrats control the state Senate and Republicans control the House.