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Virginia

Summary of Current (and Most Recent) Abortion and Personhood Laws

  • The Virginia law permits licensed physicians and nurse practitioners acting within their scope of practice to perform abortions on any woman during the first trimester of pregnancy and later in pregnancy under certain circumstances. Va. Code § 18.2-71 through 18.2-76.1.
  • During the second trimester a licensed physician may perform an abortion only in a licensed hospital.
  • After the second trimester of pregnancy, a licensed physician may perform an abortion only if the following conditions are met:
    • The abortion is performed in a licensed hospital;
    • The physician and two consulting physicians certify that in their medical opinion the continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the woman or substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman; and
    • Measures of life support must be available and utilized if there is any clearly visible evidence of viability.
  • Termination of a pregnancy is permitted on any woman if necessary to save her life, in the opinion of the physician so performing the abortion.

Potential impact of the law on and references to IVF and reproductive medicine if any

  • It does not appear that current abortion restrictions in Virginia will apply to IVF or other reproductive medicine services outside the context of a pregnancy.
  • There are no explicit references to IVF or reproductive medicine services in the abortion laws. 

Relevant definitions

The abortion laws don’t include definitions, except in the context of prohibiting “partial birth infanticide” (not relevant to this analysis), but abortion is described as administering, or causing to be taken by a woman, any drug or other thing with the intent to destroy her unborn child, or to produce an abortion or miscarriage.

Penalties for violations of the applicable abortion restrictions

Abortions not performed in compliance with the statutory provisions described above are punishable as a crime. Va. Code § 18.2-71.

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