Virginia Leg Rejects Pro-Abortion Amendment, Bill Heads Back to Governor
by Steven Ertelt
April 21, 2004
Richmond, VA (LifeNews.com) — Members of the Virginia state legislature rejected a pro-abortion amendment added by Governor Mark Warner (D) to the unborn victims bill. With the vote, the bill now heads back to Warner in its original form for him to sign or veto.
Warner didn’t veto the unborn victims bill when he considered it initially, but he attached an amendment saying the bill doesn’t limit abortion per the Roe v. Wade decision.
However, the Virginia state House and Senate on Wednesday voted to remove Warner’s amendment from the bill, which allows criminals who kill or injure unborn children in crimes against a pregnant woman to be prosecuted for two crimes.
The state House rejected the amendment 69-31 while the state Senate disapproved it on a 25-15 vote.
Opponents said that state law never mentions court decisions, which can change over time.
Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, one of the lead sponsors of the pro-life bill, said "this is not the appropriate time to start listing Supreme Court decisions in criminal statutes in Virginia," he said.
Warner now has 30 days to either sign or veto the bill. He can also allow it to become law without his signature.
A Warner representative told LifeNews.com that the governor had not yet issued a statement in response to the legislature’s vote and has not decided what he will do about the bill.
"Opponents of this bill have argued that it may be an attempt to chip away at a woman’s right to choose recognized by the Supreme Court. Supporters have denied that the bill has anything to do with abortion," the governor said in a statement last week accompanying the amendment. "My proposed amendment should resolve that debate to the satisfaction of both sides."
But pro-life groups said Warner is mistaken.
"The Governor politicized the bill by adding an amendment affirming the Roe v. Wade decision," Victoria Cobb of the Family Foundation, a pro-life group, said. "HB 1, in and of itself, is no threat at all to Roe v. Wade, and the Governor knows it."
The unborn victims bill originally passed in the state House 77-22 and in the state Senate on a 29-11 vote.
ACTION: To urge Governor Warner to sign the bill, contact him at Governor Mark R. Warner, State Capitol, 3rd Floor, Richmond, Virginia 23219, (804) 786-2211, Fax: (804) 371-6351.