January 10, 2007
As legislators begin sifting through bills proposed this year, one about abortion has already created some controversy.
The legislation mirrors that already put in place by 15 other states.
It's called a trigger bill and what that means is that the U.S. Supreme Court would first have to overturn a 1973 ruling, and then if this bill were made law, then it would go into effect here in Virginia.
The bill being introduced by Delegate Robert Marshall would automatically ban abortion if the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 decision Roe versus Wade.
If passed, the bill says that if & when the state once again regulates abortion, then in Virginia, abortion would be a crime just as it was before 1970.
It goes on to state that any person administering an abortion would face up to ten years jail time, something pro-choice advocates see setting a dangerous stage.
"A climate where abortion is criminalized is a scary climate because abortion doesn't just stop when you criminalize it it goes underground" said Becky Reid of Planned Parenthood.
A spokesperson for the Central Virginia Family Forum defends the bill saying "if we punish a criminal for killing an innocent adult, why wouldn't we punish someone for killing an innocent child."
Reid maintains, though, that if legislators want to be a part of family planning issues their bills should focus more on state funding for preventing unintended pregnancies.
"Really the most constructive response to abortion no matter what side of the issues you are on is prevention" said Reid.