Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Cole’s HB 62, on abortion, dies
The Senate Finance committee has voted down Del. Mark Cole’s bill that would bar use of state Medicaid money for poor women to abort fetuses that could be born severely or fatally disabled.
The controversial bill had garnered emotional testimony from both sides in earlier committee hearings. Cole said the bill simply conformed state law to federal law, and would save taxpayers who disagree with abortion from having their dollars go to pay for the procedures.
Opponents of the bill said it was cruel, and that it would leave poor women without options in cases where their doctors say their baby would be born severely disabled, if it survived at all.
The Virginia Department of Health reported approving 10 such abortions for women in the state medical assistance plan in 2011, and 23 in 2010.
Earlier, the Senate Education and Health committee had attached an amendment to the bill that said such babies would be first in line for state Medicaid waiver slots.
That sent the bill to the Senate Finance committee, as it would cost money. With little discussion, the committee voted today to pass the bill by indefinitely.