Virginia Bill Would Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks

A bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with few exceptions, has been introduced to the Virginia House of Delegates.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, or HB 1473, would make it a felony to perform or attempt to perform an abortion after 20 weeks.

"No penalty may be assessed against the woman upon whom the abortion is performed or induced or attempted to be performed or induced," the bill supported by members of the Virginia House GOP says.

The law allows for an exception if the life of the mother is at risk, or if there is "serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function."

The patrons of the bill are Del. Richard Bell of the 20th District, Del. Mark Cole of the 88th District, Del. Nick Freitas and Del. Dave LaRock of the 33rd District.

Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio signed a bill Tuesday imposing a 20-week abortion ban. He vetoed stricter provisions that would have barred the procedure at the first detectable fetal heartbeat. 

The so-called heartbeat bill would have prohibited most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy — before many women know they are pregnant.

Supporters of 20-week bans say fetuses can feel pain then, which opponents characterize as scientifically unsound. 


Virginia's bill will make its way to the House floor in January. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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