Virginia Gov Glenn Youngkin Calls for Legislation to Protect Babies From Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 9, 2023   |   10:56AM   |   Richmond, Virginia

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin expressed hope Monday about passing legislation to protect unborn babies from later abortions in his state after neighboring North Carolina appears poised to do the same.

The Republican governor supports legislation to prohibit most abortions on unborn babies after 15 weeks, and polls consistently show most Americans support such limits.

During an appearance Monday, Younkin was asked about abortion, and he reaffirmed his commitment to protecting unborn babies from abortion after the first trimester, VPM reports.

“There seems to be substantial support across Democrats across Republicans, men and women, for a bill that would protect life in 15 weeks,” Youngkin said.

The pro-life legislation would protect unborn babies by banning most elective abortions after 15 weeks. Exceptions after that point would be allowed for cases involving rape, incest or risks to the mother’s life.

Right now, Virginia allows unborn babies to be aborted for any reason up to about 26 weeks, which is past viability, and more than 16,000 unborn babies are aborted every year, according to state government data.

Olivia Gans Turner, president of Virginia Society for Human Life, said her organization would like to see every unborn baby’s life protected, but there is not enough support in the state legislature right now to do that.

ACTION ALERT: Contact Virginia state lawmakers and urge them to protect babies from abortions.

“This is not a point in history in Virginia where such legislation would have any legs,” Turner said. “I think that’s where we would focus at this stage of the game — laws that most Virginians think are rational.”

She said she hopes lawmakers will consider other pro-life bills that have strong public support, including one to add information about pregnancy and parenting resources, including pregnancy resource centers, on the state health department website, according to the report.

Virginia has a divided state legislature. Democrats control the state Senate and Republicans control the House of Delegates and governor’s office, so there is little chance of passing legislation to protect every unborn baby’s right to life.

In January, state Del. Kathy Byron and Sen. Stephen Newman introduced legislation to limit abortion after 15 weeks, a point by which science reveals unborn babies can feel pain. However, Senate Democrats defeated the bill in committee.

Still, Younkin expressed hope this week that protections for unborn babies after 15 weeks will pass because the public supports them, 13 News Now reports.

“I think we can come together around a 15 week bill, and that’s what I have been very clear about. I think we should continue to work on that,” he said Monday.

Last year, he told the Washington Post: “Virginians do want fewer abortions as opposed to more abortions. I am not someone who is going to jump in and try to push us apart … There is a place we can come together.”

Virginia likely will see more abortions as a result of pro-life laws in neighboring states.

Last week, North Carolina passed a bill to protect unborn babies from abortion after 12 weeks. Gov. Roy Cooper, a pro-abortion Democrat, is expected to veto the legislation, but the bill appears to have enough votes to override his veto.

If the law goes into effect, Planned Parenthood of Virginia executive director Jamie Lockhart told VPM that they expect more women will come to Virginia for later abortions. Lockhart said a 15-week limit would “disrupt access to abortion for people seeking care in Virginia.”

A January poll by WPA Intelligence for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America and the Virginia Family Foundation found voters strongly support (61 percent) protecting unborn babies after 15 weeks, a point by which they can feel pain. Almost two thirds of voters (65 percent) also oppose allowing abortion on demand until birth.

By 15 weeks of pregnancy, unborn babies’ major organs are formed and functioning. They have fingers and toes, and can feel excruciating pain. On ultrasounds, unborn babies at this stage can be seen hiccupping and sucking their thumbs, and doctors have recorded their heartbeats and brainwaves.

ACTION ALERT: Contact Virginia state lawmakers and urge them to protect babies from abortions.