Connect with us
[adrotate banner="51"]

Downtown

Senate shuts down bill to require ‘informed written consent’ for abortion

State legislators did not advance a Virginia House bill that advocates said would have provided more information to women seeking an abortion and which opponents saw as politicized and unnecessary.

Published

on

x

By Anna Chen

State legislators did not advance a Virginia House bill that advocates said would have provided more information to women seeking an abortion and which opponents saw as politicized and unnecessary.

House Bill 212, introduced by Del. Karen S. Greenhalgh, R-Virginia Beach, expanded the parameters of written consent already required by law of women seeking an abortion.

Medical providers would have been required to present patients with information such as a medical explanation of the procedure, the benefits, risks and other options such as adoption. A physician or nurse practitioner would be made available when requested to answer questions about the procedure. Providers would also need to inform patients of the gestational age of the fetus at the time of the abortion.

The bill also required the Department of Health to publish and supply in several languages the contact information of public and private agencies that could help with several aspects of birthing and raising a child, including adoption, counseling, and financial assistance. The department was also tasked with including in the materials a toll-free, 24-hour-a-day telephone number that orally identified the same information.

The bill originally proposed requiring informed consent by phone or in person at least 24 hours in advance of the procedure, but it was amended in the House.

The legislation was “passed by indefinitely” with a 10-5 vote in the Senate Education and Health committee.

Sen. Siobhan S. Dunnavant, R-Henrico, spoke in opposition of the bill during a subcommittee last week, calling it a hard moment as a legislator.

It has taken fortitude to be an anti-abortion OB-GYN over the past 30 years, she said. Dunnavant said every procedure should already have informed consent. If that is not given, the medical provider can be sued for “inadequate informed consent.”

“I just can’t support scripting that into the code in another place, because it is a really slippery slope,” Dunnavant said. The lawmaker held her position Thursday and was the only Republican lawmaker to join Democrats in passing by the bill.

Olivia Gans Turner, president of the anti-abortion organization Virginia Society for Human Life, supported the bill. The bill recognized that women need a requirement where they can obtain “medically accurate information,” she stated in an email.

Gans Turner became an anti-abortion activist after she said she had four separate and bad interactions in college while seeking an abortion provider.

The bill would allow women a chance to contemplate different options while they are juggling a “complex pregnancy situation,” Gans Turner stated. Medical providers deny women information that could help them make “wise decisions they can live with later,” according to Gans Turner.

If the bill passed, women would have the chance to learn more about their bodies, the development of their unborn child and other available services to continue their pregnancies, Gans Turner said.

“The only people who think this sort of bill hurts women are those in the abortion business and groups that promote abortion,” Gans Turner stated.

Greenhalgh said during the subcommittee on Friday, that the bill is “simply information.”

Greenhalgh previously worked as a counselor and advocate for women facing unplanned pregnancies.

“When a woman is in a crisis situation there is an instinctual feeling that you have to do something,” Greenhalgh said during the subcommittee. “There isn’t time to do the research that typically comes with other procedures.”

Kelly Lester, who said she previously worked at an abortion clinic, spoke in support of the bill. The legislation would help women make informed decisions about their unplanned pregnancies or medical procedures they choose for their body and health, she said.

“All women should be informed on anything they’re gonna do, whether it be getting their ears pierced or a tattoo done,” Lester said. “They deserve the right.”

Lester said she was never provided information about the procedure or recovery when she had an abortion. Women who visited the abortion clinic where she worked were not given accurate, informed consent, Lester said.

“We gave them a sheet of paper and the risks and the procedure was basically on that piece of paper and expected them to read it, and comprehend it and initial it,” Lester said. “They understood it, but we never really gave them the true information about what was going to happen.”

Jamie Lockhart, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said she opposed the bill because it inserts politicians in the middle of private medical decisions, which should be left to the patient and medical providers.

“None of us turn to politicians for advice about breast exams, prenatal care or cancer treatments, so politicians should not be involved in personal medical decisions about pregnancy,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart said the bill would have stigmatized and shamed women for getting an abortion and interfere in the patient-provider relationship.

“We don’t need politicians meddling in the exam room,” Lockhart said. “Patient providers are already having deep conversations about informed consent before providing abortion care.”

The bill existed because of legislators who oppose access to safe, legal abortion but are aware they can’t cut off access to it, Lockhart said. The legislators then find ways to put obstacles to abortion care.

Cathryn Stephenson, who opposed the bill and has received an abortion, said women don’t need moralizing or scolding from politicians.

Women are aware of the stakes and don’t make the decision lightly, she said. If women go through with unwanted pregnancies, it also affects the child as well because they may not be in a home in which they can flourish, Stephenson said.

“I don’t think politicians have the public’s best interest and they certainly don’t have women’s best interests at heart when they decide to interfere and intervene,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson said she had an abortion due to lack of partner support, addiction and financial constraints. She also felt that adoption or foster care would not be a good decision because of its “broken system.”

“If you’re not somebody capable of carrying and conceiving an embryo, I don’t think you should be involved in the decision-making process,” Stephenson said. “The government is willing to make all these mandates and restrictions for people who need access to abortion, but they’re not willing to create a social safety net to help.”

Several other abortion-related bills were introduced this session but did not advance.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

The Capital News Service is a flagship program of VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. In the program, journalism students cover news in Richmond and across Virginia and distribute their stories, photos, and other content to more than 100 newspapers, television and radio stations, and news websites.

Community

2nd Street Festival Cancelled Grand Master Flash Performing at Hippodrome

Although the festival is cancelled there is a least one show that will go on. Curse you Hurrican Ian, curse you.

Published

on

x

Sad news from Venture Richmond

Venture Richmond Events has made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel the 2nd Street Festival, scheduled for this weekend, Oct. 1-2.

Like many, the Venture Richmond Events team has watched Ian for days, hoping that it would not be the massive and potentially deadly weather event that it clearly is. While we are extremely lucky to be a few states away from the serious issues Florida is facing, we also know that this weekend promises uncertain amounts of rainfall and potential wind gusts for our area. After consulting meteorologists, vendors, contractors, security, and other event planners, and after considering the Governor’s State of Emergency, we concluded to the best of our ability, that the event, if held, would not be safe. We must put the safety of our patrons, artists, vendors, contractors, and staff foremost.

There is good news though – a portion of the party will go on indoors! Our festival headliner, Grandmaster Flash will perform indoors at The Hippodrome theater on 2nd Street in Jackson Ward on Saturday evening. This performance will be FREE and open to the public, but capacity is limited and based upon availability.

2nd Street Festival at The Hipp

A special performance by Grandmaster Flash with an opening band

Saturday, October 1, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Hippodrome Theater, 528 N. 2nd Street

Doors 4:30 p.m.

Free and open to the public with limited capacity and based upon availability.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

Continue Reading

Community

Virginia Pridefest Festing on Brown’s Island

The Truist Main Stage headlining acts include The Queen of Bounce, Big Freedia, Leikeli 47 and Rosé from RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Published

on

x

Pridefest weekend features three amazing events, beginning with Pride After Dark: Animal -the official pre-Pride Party. Get your tickets for Pride After Dark at vapride.org Pridefest is Saturday on Browns Island featuring Leikeli47, Big Freedia, and numerous local performers and is free and open to all. The weekend of festivities will end at Bingo Beer Co. With Snatch’d: a Rainbow Celebration – no ticket required.

Virginia Pride is a program of Diversity Richmond, the LGBTQ Community Center for Central Virginia. A committee of volunteers oversees VA Pride’s efforts to make the Richmond Region a better place for LGBTQ people to live, work and visit.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

Continue Reading

Community

Persons of interest in Jewelry Theft

Friday, September 16, at approximately 1:30 p.m. two individuals entered an open business and stole several pieces of jewelry before leaving the store in an unknown direction.

Published

on

x

From RPD

Richmond Police detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the individuals in these photos who are persons of interest in a theft that occurred last Friday in the 1300 block of East Cary Street.

Friday, September 16, at approximately 1:30 p.m. two individuals entered an open business and stole several pieces of jewelry before leaving the store in an unknown direction.

The female suspect is approximately 5 foot 7 inches tall, weighing approximately 180 pounds, last seen wearing a black shirt, white pants, black sandals, carrying a black shoulder bag.

The male suspect is approximately 5 foot 7 inches tall, weighing approximately 160 pounds, last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, brown shoes, black baseball style hat.

Anyone with information about the identity of these individuals are asked to call First Precinct Detective T. Wilson at (804) 646-0672 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones also may be used. All Crime Stoppers reporting methods are anonymous.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

Continue Reading