Early Thursday, a Senate committee tossed a series of Republican-backed bills aimed at restricting access to abortion at various cutoff points. — Range from conception to 24 weeks, with a few exceptions. House Speaker Todd Gilbert (R, Shenandoah) has not yet assigned a committee to hear any of the abortion access bills introduced to the floor. – Prohibit abortion for one week except for rape, incest and mother’s life.
Gilbert’s inaction has led to speculation that he is postponing a tough political battle because the outcome will be so clear once the bill goes to the Senate. I mentioned remarks on the subject that I made at The number of votes required to pass a bill.
As such, MPs are dancing around hot topics, knowing that none are likely to come to fruition. After all, this is an election year, and all 140 seats in Congress will be put to vote in newly elected districts this fall. With that in mind, many legislators are more interested in making speeches than taking controversial actions that may come back to haunt them in the election campaign.
“Everyone should prepare for the election,” said Rep. Mark D. Sickles (D-Fairfax).
Rep. Tim Anderson, Republican Virginia Beach, said:
Here are some of the issues that have surfaced but are unlikely to survive the session:
Virginia allows early and mid-trimester abortion. About 26 weeks, and the third is certified by three doctors only if the mother’s life or health is in serious danger. Without comment, the Senate Education and Health Committee on Thursday morning rejected three of her bills that would further limit access to abortion in the state.
Senator Travis Hackworth (Republican Taswell)’s most draconian Senate bill, 1284, declared that life begins at conception and outlawed abortion with two exceptions. A suspected crime has been reported to the police and an abortion has been performed within her 20 weeks.
Senator Stephen D. Newman (R-Bedford) proposed Senate Bill 1385 to ban abortion after 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest, and saving the life of the mother.
A third bill — Senate Bill 1483, Sen. Siobhan S. Dunnavant (R.H. Henrico), practicing obstetrician-gynecologist — would change the duration of legal abortions to 22 or 24 weeks, depending on fetal survival. It was supposed to be shortened. Dunnavant described his bill as an update to a current law written in 1975, written at a time when fetuses could not be expected to survive outside the womb before 28 weeks. , which it said reflects “amazing medical advances” in fewer weeks. for viability.
“I really think about the idea of aborting a baby who could live in the NICU. [neonatal intensive care unit] I can’t stand it,” she said.
Her bill included one exception after viability. It’s about saving my mother’s life. It also clarified that the abortion law does not apply to the treatment of non-viable pregnancies. This aims to address concerns that doctors fearing breaking the law will be reluctant to perform the abortions needed to save the mother’s life in an emergency.
Democrats celebrated at the post-vote press conference.
“This is our time in history,” declared Senator Barbara A. Favola (D-Arlington). “We have to fight this battle for our children.”
Senate Democrats also spoke of their own measures to protect or expand access to abortion. This includes promulgating broad abortion rights in state constitutions. However, they are not expected to dominate the House.
The House debated two bills related to absentee voters on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s final vote. Rep. John J. McGuire III (R-Goochland) said House Bill 1693 would eliminate ballot drop-boxes. It was originally created to make voting safer during the pandemic.
Trump enthusiast McGuire, who said he attended a January 6, 2021 rally on the National Mall but did not enter the Capitol, said: These dropboxes are a step in the right direction to rebuild trust in our electoral system. ”
Rep. Schuyler T. Van Valkenberg (D-Henrico) said voter access bills passed by the Democratic majority in 2020, including a bill to create a ballot drop box, will put Virginia’s long-standing reputation on hold. I countered that I had smashed it to. vote.
“By expanding access, we have also strengthened our electoral system. No fraud…these reforms have worked,” said VanValkenburg.
Rep. Philip Scott (R-Spotsylvania) said the House bill of 1877 would shorten the period for in-person absentee ballots from 45 days to 14 days, allowing states such as Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey to vote. claimed to follow the example of utilizing a shorter period. .
“None of these states claim to have voter suppression in their elections,” Scott said.
Del. Marcia S. “Cia” Price (D-Newport News) noted that voters from both major parties have used early voting frequently since it was enacted. “Attempts to reverse our progress are highly questionable because you don’t want everyone who wants to vote to be able to do so,” Price said.
Both bills passed on Thursday in a 51-47 partisan vote.
House Republicans passed a bill on Wednesday — House Bill 1378 — banning Virginia from following vehicle emissions standards set by California. Virginia adopted state standards as part of sweeping environmental legislation passed by Democrats two years ago.
Fourteen other states also follow California standards, which are stricter than those of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency and often influence automotive industry practices. But Youngkin made campaign hay by accusing Virginia of being dependent on other states’ policies.
The bill faces a grim prospect in the Senate, where similar measures have already been dropped.
The House of Representatives said Wednesday for debate over a bill introduced by Anderson that would require school librarians to list books with sexual material and prevent parents from letting their children borrow those books. The page of junior high school days was expelled from the assembly hall.
Anderson read aloud passages describing sexual acts, holding up graphic illustrations, from books he said were in high school libraries, such as Virginia Beach and Loudoun County.
“The reason I did that was because I wanted to address the ‘big lie’ that these books don’t exist. Because it exists,” Anderson explained to lawmakers.
His House Bill 1379 does not include penalties for librarians who “may have missed a book in good faith,” he said, nor should such books be removed. “It simply … allows parents to say, ‘I don’t want my kids to have access to these books,'” he said.
Democrats argued that the bill’s definition of “graphical sexual content” is so broad that it also includes classic paintings. Del. Kelly K. Convirs-Fowler (D-Virginia Beach) said Republicans are “trying to capitalize on their extreme MAGA base.”
That bill, along with another bill requiring the Virginia Board of Education to create a model policy that schools can use to remove inappropriate library materials, passed a vote of political parties on Thursday.
Anderson then said he has no illusions about what his bill will look like when it goes to the Democratic-majority Senate. Senate committee passes Senate Bill 787 from Sen. Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) to require written parental consent before students check out or process sexually explicit school library books I have already declined.
“This bill was void when it arrived,” Anderson said. “You saw what happened here. Not a single Democrat voted for it.”