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Warner supports abortion rights and works to prevent gun violence

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In a Thursday morning call with media, Sen. Mark Warner expressed his thoughts on abortion laws and gun regulation in the United States.

“We’re all, I think, still reeling from the Dobbs decision at the Supreme Court,” Warner said Thursday morning.

Warner is working on legislation with other Democrats, the Freedom of Travel Act, so that women who must travel to obtain an abortion are allowed to do so. He said he is seeing laws all ready that restrict travel to other states for an abortion in a state where abortion is still legal, such as Virginia.

“I don’t think if an adjacent state precludes those rights that you should be able to prohibit a woman from traveling to Virginia or another state where reproductive choices are still safe and legal,” Warner said.

The issue of abortion rights in the United States, Warner said, is why he tells everyone “elections matter.” Who you vote, for determines how laws are made.

“I think the outrageousness of these laws, this decision, are playing out right now,” he said.

An example of the outrageousness is a 10-year-old girl in Ohio, a victim of rape, must travel to Indiana to seek an abortion.

“I think we’re a better country than that,” Warner said Thursday morning.

Restricting abortion and prohibiting travel to obtain a safe abortion, Warner said, “seems downright un-American to me.”

During a question-and-answer session, Warner was asked about a New York law regarding the consideration of social media posts when an individual applies for a gun permit. Could this become a federal law?

Warner said that warning signals often appear on social media when an act of gun violence is about to happen. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, according to Warner, is a law that reforms communication and came from a 1996 bill. The law gave posters of content immunity regarding what they post. While Facebook and Twitter say they monitor content for threats, Warner said they have no incentive to do so.

Warner wants laws for when an individual perpetuates harassment and terror virtually, they should be held accountable, just as they would be in the physical world.

“It just makes no sense to me that in our physical world, there are certain things that are illegal, but if you do them in the virtual world, there’s no penalty,” Warner said.

Changing Section 230, Warner said, will not fix the problem. “But, it sure as heck ought to be a step forward.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.