Virginia Senate puts off major abortion vote to Thursday
The Virginia Senate has postponed a major vote over abortion rights, as Democrats in the chamber hunt for votes to kill last-minute legislation that would regulate clinics where first trimester abortions are performed as hospitals.
The chamber Wednesday began a debate over the abortion clinic amendment added by the House of Delegates to an unrelated bill. Sen. Jeff McWaters (R-Virginia Beach) told colleagues that the measure is needed to ensure the safety of women who seek abortions.
Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington) said that Virginia would be the first state in the country to regulate first trimester abortion clinics as hospitals and that the rules, which include regulations on hallway and doorway width, would put the majority of the state's abortion clinics out of business.
Two conservative Democrats have said they will vote for the bill. If all of the chamber's 18 Republicans also back the measure Thursday, the chamber would face a tie vote. A tie would be broken by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who supports the bill.
A spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said Wednesday that governor supports the amendment and will sign the bill if the senate approves it.
"He encourages the Senate to approve this commonsense measure that will ensure that all outpatient surgical centers are treated the same, in order to ensure the health and safety of our citizens," said McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin. "He will sign the bill if it passes the full legislature. At that time we would then work with the appropriate state agencies to promulgate regulations consistent with this statue."
Rosalind S. Helderman
| February 23, 2011; 1:30 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate
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Posted by: BruceFairfax | February 23, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse