Virginia Senate Panel Rejects Abortion Measure

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A Virginia Senate Committee has rejected a bid to prevent Medicaid patients from having abortions when doctors determine the fetus has profound deformities that make survival unlikely.

The Republican-dominated Education and Health Committee voted 8-7 on Thursday to kill the bill. Virginia Beach Republican Sen. Harry Blevins joined the panel's seven Democrats opposing it.

The bill's sponsor, Louisa County Republican Sen. Scott Garrett, argued that Helen Keller would have been subject to a state-funded abortion under existing state law.

Democrats called the claim ridiculous. They contended that the measure preys on poor women alone because wealthy women would still be able to abort a fetus doomed by prenatal deformities.

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