RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- With a newly empowered Democratic majority at the Virginia General Assembly, abortion-rights advocates say the state has a chance to roll back decades of restrictions and become a “safe haven” for women in neighboring conservative states.

Pro-choice groups are pushing to undo Republican-backed laws including a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion and requirements for ultrasound and counseling.

A Senate committee passed that bill Thursday, a day after a House committee advanced that chamber’s version.

Abortion opponents argue the laws protect a pregnant woman’s health and safety and are prudent given the gravity of the decision to obtain an abortion.

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