Last updated on May 9th, 2019
US District Judge Henry E Hudson on Monday overruled a law in Virginia, which allowed only the licensed physicians to perform the first trimester abortions of women’s pregnancy. The abortion rights advocates present locally and nationally welcomed the Federal Judge’s decision with contentment.
In the past, these advocates have continuously argued that the first-trimester abortions were simple and safe and non-doctors could easily perform it. The issue evolved as a part of a general agreement where a group of clinics and the advocates of abortion rights accepted that Virginia’s present medical requirements were “unduly burdensome” and therefore unconstitutional.
As per the Federal Judge’s ruling, midwives, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who have a proper training are eligible to perform abortions in Virginia.
The ruling received criticism from a few Virginians. Victoria Cobb, president of the conservative Family Foundation of Virginia, criticized the decision in an email, saying, “The abortion industry wants to increase its profit margin by not having to pay for doctors.”
The advocates have been hoping that the trial scheduled for May 20 would also remove the remaining restrictions on abortions. These include, a requirement for ultrasounds and a 24-hour delay for an abortion in some circumstances.
The issue of abortions came into light when Virginian Democrat Kathy Tran defended a failed bill in January that sought to reduce restrictions on late-term abortions. It aimed at allowing abortions up to the point of delivery in cases when the mother’s life or health was at serious risk. Virginian Governor Ralph Northam later tried to justify Kathy’s statements, although the Republicans criticized him of favoring the act of killing live babies.
Other Democrats, who stood in favor of Northam, made it clear that the governor did not intend to end the life of a delivered baby; instead, he wanted to allow the process of prognosis and medical treatment in action.
Amidst the number of passed bills that restricted the partial or complete abortion, ruling by Hudson acted as a landmark. He stated that the law “is unnecessary and provides minimal medical benefits with respect to first trimester abortions” increasing the burden on women who seek abortions.
Thus allowing the trained non-doctors to perform a first-trimester abortion, which typically requires only medication, might save time and money as it would not require the onsite presence of a licensed physician. Nevertheless, the judge did not lift the rule for second or third trimester abortions.