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Senate committee strikes down several abortion-related bills

The examining rooms in the Fort Worth clinic do not meet the emergency-room-like standards of the Texas abortion law known as HB 2. It would cost more than $1 million to upgrade this facility, and the clinic's operators say it would be forced to close.
Barry Gordemer
An exam room at an abortion clinic.

Governor Glenn Youngkin campaigned on a platform of limiting abortions with a 15-week ban. But Democrats in the Senate are rejecting any new restrictions.

Senate Republicans offered a number of potential restrictions on abortion: a total ban, a 15-week ban and a 24-week ban.

"I will support any bill at any stage of life that reels back the current abortion laws that we have here currently in the Commonwealth," says Republican Senator Travis Hackworth of Tazewell County.

Senate Democrats rejected all efforts to restrict abortion in a subcommittee meeting Friday morning. House Republicans have a bunch of similar bills, but they'll all end up before this same Senate subcommittee. After the vote, Rae Pickett at Planned Parenthood said supporters of abortion rights cannot assume the fight is over.

"The ultimate goal of all these bills is to ban abortion, and the other side will not stop with abortion rights," Pickett says. "We know that LGTBQ rights are under attack. Trans kids are under attack. And so, we just cannot afford to be complacent at all."

Abortion rights in Virginia seem safe for now, and advocates on both sides of this issue say they're not expecting any major developments this year.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.