A Virginia Senate committee last week defeated three bills that would have improved access to abortion in the state.
All three bills would have struck down current Virginia law. SB 733 would have repealed the state law requiring patients undergo a transabdominal ultrasound before getting an abortion, while SB 920 would have removed the part of the ultrasound law requiring that it be given 24 hours prior to the abortion.
“As an administrator of three women’s health centers in the Commonwealth, I have witnessed first-hand the barriers that Virginia’s mandatory ultrasounds and 24 hour waiting period requirements have on Virginia women and the doctors that serve them,” Jill Abbey, administrator of the Richmond, Roanoke, and Charlottesville Medical Centers for Women, said in a statement. “Our patients are often forced to return to our facility as many as three times before accessing an abortion—which can mean additional travel expenses, child care costs, and time off work.”
A third bill, SB 769, would have repealed a Virginia law banning the coverage of abortion in health insurance plans sold through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges.
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These bills were among six pro-choice pieces of legislation introduced in the state this session. The state senate introduced four reproductive-related bills, including the three defeated last week. The fourth, SB 1277, was defeated earlier in January.
Virginia’s legislature includes a slim 21-19 GOP state senate majority and a 68-34 Republican advantage in the house.