Virginia’s abortion laws are designed to align with the Supreme Court ruling in Row vs Wade, with compassionate consideration for the woman’s emotional and physical well-being. Four specific sections of the Virginia Code have been challenged in Federal District court.
Three sections protect the physical well-being of the woman considering abortion:
- Abortions may only be performed by licensed doctors, including during first trimester.
- Medical facilities performing more than four first trimester abortions per month must meet surgical facility licensing requirements.
- Second trimester abortions must be performed in a hospital setting.
The fourth section addresses her emotional well-being.
- An ultrasound is required at least 24 hours before an abortion procedure, with the patient offered the opportunity to see the ultrasound. This does not apply if the woman seeking an abortion is the victim of rape or incest, if the incident was reported to law-enforcement authorities.
Imagine the terror of being swept up in a tornado, feeling helpless -facing a terrible fate- with no way to escape. That describes the emotional state of a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Suppose you could stop the tornado- would you consider how badly you will be hurt when you hit the ground?
Suppose there were three ways to stop the tornado- how do you decide when you are panicked and feel the need to act quickly?
Suppose could slow down the tornado- allowing time to consider which option would cause the least damage when the tornado stops?
That is the purpose of the required ultrasound and the 24 hour waiting period: time to consider all options.
The trial challenging Virginia’s abortion laws concluded June 6th, 2019, but no decision has yet been given. US District Judge Henry E. Hudson heard the case with no jury, and it is unknown when Hudson will rule on the case.
The perspective of Judge Hudson was made clear when, before the trial began, he struck down the restriction that only licensed doctors could perform first trimester abortions. The ruling took effect immediately, allowing first trimester abortions, medical and surgical, to be performed by nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants.
HOWEVER. Judge Hudson reversed his own ruling days later.
“On further review, the Court is of the opinion that summary judgment was improvidently awarded,” he wrote.
Do you think these requirements should be removed from the Virginia Code?
Can you explain why you hold your opinion?