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Virginia governor says 20-week abortion ban would damage state’s ‘image’
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) delivers remarks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Virginia governor says 20-week abortion ban would damage state’s ‘image’

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe pledged Tuesday that he will veto "socially divisive" legislation that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act introduced in the state's General Assembly would prohibit abortion after the point in pregnancy in which experts believe an unborn child can feel pain, with exceptions for medical emergencies.

In remarks to the Associated Press, the Democratic Virginia governor said he wants companies looking to invest in the state to know that the legislation will not become law.

“I can’t sit back and have that sitting out the same time I am traveling the globe recruiting businesses to Virginia,” said McAuliffe, who’s scheduled to go on a recruiting trip over the weekend. “If there’s something that would be damaging toward business, and to our image around the country and the globe, I’ll veto it, you bet I will.”

McAuliffe urged the the Republican-controlled General Assembly not to "waste time" trying to pass the bill.

The bill's sponsor, Republican state delegate Dave LaRock told the AP that public support is growing for such legislation.

"It's outrageous for a person with any compassion to turn a blind eye while this torture takes place," LaRock said.

A 2014 Quinnipiac poll found that 60 percent of Americans support legislation prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks, while a 2016 Knights of Columbus/Marist poll found that 78 percent of Americans support some restrictions on abortion.

Similar 20-week bans have been passed in several states including South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

A 20-week abortion ban was also recently introduced in Kentucky, where it is expected to earn the support of the Republican-controlled legislature and be signed into law by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

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