The House of Delegates voted today to require that women seeking abortions in Virginia must be informed in writing about the physical and psychological risks to their health before the operation can be performed.
After a debate in which opponents of the abortion warning accused antiabortion legislators of "playing games" with a woman's right to an abortion, the House voted 50 to 46 in favor of the bill.
"Those of us who do not believe in abortion are simply saying... give a poor woman in distress on the verge of an abortion some sense of what she is doing," said Del. Lewis P. Fickett, Jr. (D-Fredricksburg), who proposed the warning requirement.
The warning to be given to women seeking abortions would mention physical and psychological risks and "informed medical opinion as to the risks of her future reproductive capability," according to the House-adopted bill. It also would mention "the physiological and anatomical characteristics of the unborn child" at the time the abortion is performed.
The warning adopted by the House today is an amendment to a Senatepassed bill that would require a doctor to obtain a written consent from a pregnant woman before performing an abortion.
The Senate Courts of Justice Committee refused earlier in the session to accept the warning adopted by the House. Sen. Joseph V. Gartlan (D-Fairfax), who unsuccessfully urged adoption of the abortion warning said he will try Thursday to persuade the full Senate to accept the warning. "The will of the Senate has never been tested on this," Gartlan said.
In the House, Del. Warren G. Stambaugh (D-Arlington) said the abortion warning gives a pregnant woman "misinformation" rather than information. He asked why, if a woman must be warned about the danger of an abortion, she must not also be warned about the possibility of birth defects if the child is born.
In other action, a bill protecting independent service station operators from competition from stations owned by oil producing and refining companies passed the Senate, 32 to 7. The bill would prohioit oil companies from opening new company-operated stations within 1 1/2 miles of a station operated by an independent dealer.
The bill now goes back to the House, which passed a measure banning any new company-owned stations in the state. The House is expected to accept the Senate version.
The Senate approved amendments to the state's two-year budget today that would permit George Mason University and other colleges to sell revenue bonds to finance about $31 million worth of construction. The bond sale has been disapproved by the House, and will be among a number of items to be resolved in a House-Senate conference committee on the spending bill.
The House took the position that the bonds, which are guaranteed by the state, should be delayed for consideration when the next two-year budget is approved in 1980. George Mason is seeking approval for about $11 million in new construction, primarily for a new field house and dining hall.
The House and Senate have made only minor changes in budget amendments proposed by Gov. John N. Dalton. The proposed changes in the current budget provide for spending a surplus of approximately $47 million remaining from the last two-year budget period.Of this amount, $22 million would be held in reserve for future use in meeting the state's rising obligations for funding state employe pensions.
Sen. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (D-Franklin) made a last ditch effort to amend the budget bill to rescind controversial retirement provisions for members of the General Assembly. A law passed in 1977 permits legislators to add more than $4,000 a year in expense allowances to their salaries of $5,475 a year for purposes of computing their retirement benefits.
Goode's amendment was defeated overwhelmingly in a voice vote. Opponents said any revision of legislators' retirement benefits should be delayed until next year when the assembly is expected to undertake a broad revision of the pension system.