RICHMOND – The Virginia General Assembly on Wednesday accepted proposals from Gov. Robert F. McDonnell to restrict state funding for abortions, expand spending on economic development and raise fines for speeders, but lawmakers resisted some cuts he had sought for social services.
On a 20 to 19 vote, the Democratic-led Senate agreed to an amendment proposed by McDonnell ® that would limit state funding for abortions to those performed in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is at risk. Nothing in state law previously prohibited Medicaid-funded abortions in instances when the health of the mother was in jeopardy.
In Virginia, governors have wide latitude to propose amendments to bills passed by the legislature during its annual winter session. The General Assembly returned to Richmond on Wednesday for one day to consider his proposals to amend 122 bills and make 96 changes to the state’s two-year budget.
The abortion vote was a victory for McDonnell, a Catholic who has long opposed abortion and who had been lobbied by social conservatives to restrict funding for the procedure. McDonnell argued that his proposal would bring Virginia into line with federal law on the issue, recently restated by an executive order signed by President Obama.