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Politics & Policy

Virginia March for Life Draws 1,000 Attendees

Scenes from the 47th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C, January 24, 2020 (Katie Yoder)

Local media in Richmond, Va., report that about 1,000 demonstrators gathered in the state capital yesterday for the Virginia March for Life, featuring a rally in front of the capitol building calling on the legislature to stop undoing restrictions on abortion.

In the state-level elections last November, Democratic legislators took over the Virginia General Assembly, winning a slim majority in the House of Delegates and a slightly larger majority in the state senate. Both chambers previously had been held by the Republican Party, although by small margins.

Last month, Democratic lawmakers took advantage of their newfound control to pass legislation removing existing regulations on abortion. Here are some details about that legislation from my recent reporting on the subject:

[The legislation] would permit non-physicians, including physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, and midwives, to perform abortions. Another would remove the parental-consent requirement for minors seeking an abortion and the requirement that women seeking an abortion obtain an ultrasound first.

The legislation also would eliminate provisions governing informed consent, so that the person performing the abortion no longer would have to give women “a full, reasonable and comprehensible medical explanation of the nature, benefits, and risks of and alternatives” to abortion. Neither would women be told that they could withdraw their consent at any point prior to the procedure.

Under current Virginia law, women must be offered a chance to speak in advance with the physician performing the abortion, must receive a statement of the probable gestational age of the fetus, and must be offered a chance to review materials about the science of unborn human life, about agencies that offer alternatives to abortion, and about medical-assistance benefits that could help them obtain prenatal care. The bills under consideration would remove those provisions entirely.

The Virginia March for Life was sponsored by the national March for Life organization in concert with the Family Foundation, the Virginia Society for Human Life, and the Virginia Catholic Conference. Last spring, about 7,000 pro-life demonstrators marched in Richmond after Democratic legislators attempted to pass a bill loosening restrictions on abortion until birth, as well as comments from Virginia’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, suggesting that mothers and doctors could discuss denying medical care to infants born alive after attempted abortion procedures.

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