Home Virginia Democratic leaders push General Assembly to codify abortion access

Virginia Democratic leaders push General Assembly to codify abortion access

Chris Graham
virginia state capitol
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The Democrats who represent Virginia in D.C. are leading an effort to get state lawmakers in Richmond to protect abortion access.

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health reversed decades of precedent guaranteeing women the right to make personal health care decisions. We are alarmed by the number of states that have implemented total or near-total abortion bans, restricting access to reproductive freedom for millions of women. We are also concerned that Governor Youngkin has indicated that he plans to take Virginia in a similar direction. Shortly after Dobbs was decided, he directed Republican members of the General Assembly to craft legislation to significantly limit abortion access in Virginia,” the members wrote in a letter to State Sen. Lionell Spruill, the chair of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, and Mark Sickles, the ranking Democrat on the House Privileges and Elections Committee.

The D.C. group behind the letter includes Reps. A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), Elaine Luria (VA-02), Don Beyer (VA-08), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) and U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).

The letter references comments from Youngkin, a Republican, after the Dobbs decision was handed down in June indicating that he will back efforts to institute a 15-week abortion ban in Virginia in the 2023 Virginia General Assembly.

With the State Senate controlled by Democrats, Youngkin’s abortion ban isn’t likely; but the push from the D.C. lawmakers isn’t likely, either, with Republicans in the majority in the House of Delegates.

The letter notes an October Christopher Newport University poll showing that 67 percent of Virginians believe abortion in all or most cases, and the defeats of ant-abortion initiatives on the ballot in red states Kansas, Kentucky and Montana in the aftermath of Dobbs.

Earlier this month, voters in Michigan, Vermont and California passed referendums codifying the right to abortion in their state constitutions.

“Given the unprecedented assault on reproductive rights, it is imperative that the right to abortion be enshrined in the Virginia Constitution and codified in Congress,” the lawmakers wrote. “We urge you to advance legislation that would allow these rights to be codified into the Virginia Constitution, and we will continue to work to codify reproductive freedom at the federal level.”

Read the full letter to the General Assembly here.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].