Virginia Legislature Approves Unborn Victims Bill, Tackles Fetal Pain

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 12, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Virginia Legislature Approves Unborn Victims Bill, Tackles Fetal Pain

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 12, 2004

Richmond, VA ( — Lawmakers in the Virginia state legislature on tackling several abortion-related bills, including pro-life legislation that would allow prosecutors to charge criminals in the death or injury of an unborn child when a criminal assaults a pregnant woman.

The state Senate approved the unborn victims bill on Monday on a 30-8 vote and it now heads to the state House for approval after the House passed its own version of the measure 74-25.

Sen. Kenneth Stolle (R) is the bill’s main sponsor and he said he was pleased with the vote after the state Senate tabled his legislation last year.

The bill is named after Laci and Conner Peterson, whose bodies were found washed ashore in the San Francisco Bay. Laci’s husband Scott is currently on trial for their deaths.

Pro-abortion Gov. Mark Warner (D) has not yet taken a position on the unborn victims bill.

Meanwhile, the Senate Education and Health Committee will be voting on Thursday on whether or not unborn babies who are aborted during the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy should have to suffer during the final moments of their lives.

On Monday, state representatives heard testimony on a similar bill that would require abortion performers to provide unborn children with anesthesia prior to the abortion.

Two doctors testified before the House Courts of Justice Committee that medical facts that show that children during the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy feel pain when their lives are taken by abortion.

The House committee is expected to pass the measure while the pro-life bill is expected to have a difficult time exiting the Senate Education and Health Committee, where pro-abortion Republicans join with pro-life Democrats to block most pro-life legislation.

Last week, a state Senate committee rejected legislation that would have subjected abortion business to stringent regulations. Similar pro-life laws in other states have been responsible for closing abortion facilities or hitting them with costly regulations.

The state House previously voted 69-28 for similar legislation.

The legislation requires any facility that performs more than 25 abortions annually to meet the requirements in place for ambulatory surgery centers. Del. Robert Marshall (R), the bill’s sponsor, says the bill is needed to make sure the medical standards at abortion facilities are the same as those expected of legitimate medical centers.

Abortion advocates oppose the bills.

"We know it’s not about safety. It’s about making abortion unavailable," said Katherine B. Waddell, chairwoman of the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition of Virginia.

Of the 19 facilities in the state that perform abortions, only one currently meets the proposed requirements, according to pro-abortion groups.

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