Va. Senate Approves Undoing GOP-Backed Abortion Restrictions

AP Photo/Steve Helber, File

The Virginia Senate approved legislation Wednesday that would undo restrictions on abortion put in place when Republicans controlled the legislature.

The new Democratic majority voted to roll back requirements that included a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, as well as a requirement that women seeking an abortion undergo an ultrasound and counseling.

The 20-20 vote came after about an hour of debate. Sen. Joe Morrissey split with fellow Democrats and joined all the chamber's Republicans in voting against the measure. Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who presides over the Senate, broke the tie.

Republicans argued the bill would make abortions less safe. Supporters of the legislation said current Virginia laws are not medically necessary and make obtaining an abortion overly burdensome.

The bill, which is part of Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's legislative agenda, would also roll back strict building code requirements on facilities that provide abortions and allow nurse practitioners to perform first-trimester abortions.

Wednesday's vote came after the House passed a similar version of the measure a day earlier. Each chamber still must pass the other's version.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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