Richmond, Va., Jan 30, 2020 / 12:15 pm
Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, a Catholic, cast the tie-breaking vote on Wednesday to pass a bill to liberalize abortion access in the commonwealth.
Senate Bill 733 received 20 votes in favor and 20 votes against on Jan. 29. Virginia's state Senate is composed of 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans. Fairfax, as lieutenant governor, is the Senate president and casts tie-breaking votes.
The bill, which has already passed the House and now awaits the Governor's signature, would repeal a Virginia law mandating that only doctors can perform abortions, allowing other medical professionals, such as physicians assistants and nurse practictioners, to do abortions. The bill will also repeal a law requiring a woman to be given specific information about the abortion procedure before it takes place.
Under current commonwealth law, a woman must be given "a full, reasonable and comprehensive medical explanation of the procedure," as well as alternatives to abortion. The woman must also be told that she can change her mind and withdraw her consent to the abortion at any time, and that she can talk to the doctor performing the abortion so they can answer questions.