Advocates want legislature to make Virginia an 'abortion safe haven'

(NBC12 WWBT photo)
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RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) - With a newly empowered Democratic majority at the Virginia General Assembly, abortion-rights advocates say the state has a chance to roll back decades of restrictions and become a "safe haven" for women in neighboring conservative states.

Pro-choice groups are pushing to undo Republican-backed laws, including a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion and requirements for ultrasound and counseling.

A Senate committee passed the bill Thursday, a day after a House panel advanced that chamber's version.

According to NBC12, abortion-rights advocates say the move will help keep women safe, but those against the changes say it will put women and children in danger.

Senate Bill 733 would change some abortion regulations in Virginia. It passed in a committee in a 9 to 6 vote.

The bill would undo Republican-backed laws, including a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion and requirements for ultrasound and counseling.

Advocates on both sides of the controversial issue pleaded with lawmakers during a hearing.

Those against the changes say the bill would make women less informed about what’s going on in their bodies.

“When a woman makes a decision to have an abortion, it should be safe. It should be legal. It’s should be accessible. It should be affordable and it should come free from punishment or judgment,” Tarina Keene, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said

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(NBC 12 WWBT contributed to this story)

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