Yesterday the Virginia Senate Committee on Education and Health voted against a bill that would have banned abortions at 20 weeks and would impose criminal penalties on doctors. The bill is based on the unfounded notion that the fetus can feel pain at this point in the pregnancy. The American College of Gynecology refutes assertions that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks, stating that there is “no legitimate evidence that fetuses can experience pain.”
Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated, “We are very pleased that the members of this committee recognized both how extreme and unconstitutional this legislation is as well as its potential impact on women’s health. This bill would have taken away a woman’s ability to make an extremely personal and private medical decision and place it in the hands of politicians. It is not the job of the legislature to make medical decisions about others’ unforeseen circumstances.”
Currently, women may legally seek an abortion in Virginia between 24 and 25 weeks gestation or at the end of the second trimester.
Richmond Times Dispatch 2/3/12; Associated Press 2/2/12; NARAL Pro-Choice America 2/2/12