New York triggered an avalanche of outrage last week when it passed, and then celebrated, a new law allowing late-term abortions under certain circumstances. Unfortunately, the Empire State is not the only state to recently consider radical new abortion laws.
Allowing late-term abortions has also been on the legislative docket in Virginia and Rhode Island.
What happened in Virginia?
Kathy Tran, a Democrat who serves in Virginia's House of Delegates, introduced legislation last week that would effectively eliminate most existing regulations on abortion in the Old Dominion State and even allow abortions up to the moment of birth.
The bill, known as the Repeal Act, would eliminate the requirement that second trimester abortions be performed in a hospital and eliminate "all the procedures and processes ... required to effect a woman's informed written consent to the performance of an abortion."
Most egregiously, the bill would allow third trimester abortions if a physician believes the child would even impair a woman's mental health. The bill states:
The bill eliminates the requirement that two other physicians certify that a third trimester abortion is necessary to prevent the woman's death or impairment of her mental or physical health, as well as the need to find that any such impairment to the woman's health would be substantial and irremediable.
On Monday, Tran, in an exchange with Virginia House of Delegates Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R), openly admitted the bill would permit abortions up to 40 weeks, the length of an average pregnancy.
Gilbert asked: "How late in the third trimester could a physician perform an abortion if he indicated it would impair the mental health of the woman?"
Tran responded: "I mean, through the third trimester. The third trimester goes all the way up to 40 weeks."
To clarify, Gilbert asked if that means the "end of the third trimester," to which Tran said: "Yes. I don't think we have a limit in the bill."
Tran later admitted the bill would permit an "abortion" even as a woman is in labor about to deliver her child.
What happened in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island is also considering similar legislation, titled, "The Reproductive Health Care Act."
The bill would essentially allow abortions up to birth for any reason. Rhode Island shall not "restrict an individual person from terminating that individual's pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to preserve the health or life of that individual," the bill declares.
The bill does not clarify what "health" refers to, which will likely allow the word to carry varying definitions in different situations.
Also, the bill repeals state law language that declares "human life commences at the instant of conception." However, even more horrendous, the new law would repeal the state law banning partial birth abortions "in its entirety."
The Rhode Island General Assembly has yet to vote on the legislation, and it has only been referred to the state House Judiciary Committee for further study. However, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has said she would sign the bill if the assembly approves it.