Dear WaPo-can You Explain What You Mean?

Today there is a story in the Washington Post describing various bills that have been submitted in this year’s Virginia General Assembly that would limit access to abortion. One bill is authored by Delegate Bob Marshall, and would in the event of the repeal of Roe v. Wade automatically restore Virginia’s pre-1973 abortion law, which the WaPo describes as follows:

Under those laws, abortion would be illegal except if the life of the woman or fetus is endangered.

This struck me purely from a language usage view…an abortion is permissible if the “fetus is endangered”? Surely there must be more to the statute than this, or maybe this is an exception where a woman is pregnant with twins and the condition of one fetus endangers the other.

However, on the face of it this line recalls the immortal Vietnam era comment “We had to destroy the village to save it.” 

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