Senate committee debates abortion funding bill

Posted at 12:44 PM, Feb 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-16 12:44:38-05

Richmond, Va (WTVR) – A Virginia senate committee is debating a bill passed by the house that would halt state-funded abortions for a small number of poor women.

This has been a General Assembly session filled with social issues that republicans had a hard time passing when the democrats were in control, but we’re seeing more wins for republicans in the polarizing issue of abortion.

That senate committee is looking over the house bill passed Feb. 3rd.  It would repeal the section authorizing the Board of Health to fund abortions for poor women in cases in which the fetus would be born with a gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency.

The Virginian Pilot is reporting that the state spent less than $3,000 on 10 such abortions in 2011.  A majority of republicans in the house believe those abortions should be paid for by private charities instead of Virginia taxpayers.

Katherine Grennier with the local chapter of the ACLU says HB 62 discriminates against the poor.  “This bill, by repealing funding that’s currently available to lower income women is specifically targeting women who are poor and are facing a medical crisis”, says Grennier, “which is absolutely no way to treat a woman who has received such a diagnosis.”

Conservative republicans have been able to move many bills this session.  Two days ago, Virginia passed two of the strictest anti-abortion bills in the country.  One defines personhood at conception.  The other requires women to undergo an ultrasound prior to having an abortion.