Va. doctors could face felonies under proposed 15-week abortion ban


On the first day of Virginia’s 2023 legislative session, Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation and punish doctors who violate the ban.

On the first day of Virginia’s 2023 legislative session, Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation and punish doctors who violate the ban.

Republican Senator Steve Newman of Virginia, who introduced the bill in the Senate, said, “I’m saying there is absolutely no criminal penalty for mothers.”

The mother is not guilty, but the doctor could face serious charges.

Under a bill called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, doctors are charged with felonies if they perform an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

There are exceptions to rape and incest.



In addition, after 15 weeks, if “continued pregnancy leads to the death of the woman or substantially and irreversibly impairs one or more of such women’s major bodily functions, excluding psychological or emotional state.” You can have an abortion.

Newman said 15 weeks is when the fetus can start to feel pain.

“This is a common-sense bill that if a child is in pain, they should be protected,” Newman said.

Republican Rep. Kathy Byron introduced the same bill in the House.

Abortion rights advocates responded quickly.

Jamie Lockhart, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said the bill would “hurt Virginians and put politicians in a place they don’t belong: in a position to control people’s personal medical decisions.” I will put it down,” he said.

Lockhart said it “denies Virginians their fundamental right to control their own bodies, lives, and futures.”

“70% of Americans want abortion restricted in some way,” Newman said. “They don’t support abortion on demand.”

But passing such a bill would not be easy in Virginia’s divided government, where Republicans control the House and Democrats control the Senate.

Abortions are now legal in Virginia during the first and second trimesters, or about 26 weeks.

Pregnant mothers can have an abortion even in the third trimester, but they must be approved by three doctors, saying that their health is at risk.

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