U.S. Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Makes Virginia an Abortion Haven, Triggers Wave of Political Statements

The U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade launched a wave of statements from Virginia politicians on Friday. Abortion remains legal in Virginia with some limitations, and split control of Virginia’s government leaves both Republicans and Democrats seeking to use the issue to motivate their own voter base. Pro-choice protesters held multiple rallies across Virginia on Friday, with more planned for the weekend.

Governor Glenn Youngkin has largely been quiet about abortion, but on Friday he released two statements reacting to the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling. Additionally, Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said Youngkin is pushing for a 15-week abortion ban.

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Youngkin Budget Amendments Include Gas Tax Holiday, Ban on Taxpayer-Funded Abortions, and Law Against Picketing Justices

Governor Glenn Youngkin is sending 35 budget amendments to the General Assembly to approve on Friday, including a gas tax holiday, a ban on using state Medicaid funds for some abortions, and a law that would make it a class six felony to picket or demonstrate outside a courthouse or residences of justices and judges. The Democratic Senate is expected to block of Youngkin’s controversial changes, but eyes are on Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) to see if he’ll vote with Republicans to approve the abortion funding ban.

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In Early House District 47 Virginia GOP Primary Battle, Del. Williams Attacks Del. March over 2019 Abortion Comments

Freshman Delegate Marie March (R-Floyd) was ranked by both conservative and progressive advocates as one of the most conservative legislators in 2022, but freshman Delegate Wren Williams (R-Patrick) recently called March a “Pro-Choice Liberal” and is highlighting a 2019 Facebook post from March about abortion. Both candidates are fighting for the GOP nomination for House of Delegates District 47, with elections scheduled for 2023.

“When the SCOTUS ruling is passed down, the balance of Life will be in the General Assembly,” Williams said in a May 6 press release a few days after reports that the U.S. Supreme Court is on the verge of reversing Roe v. Wade
“We can’t trust Pro-Choice Squishes like March.”

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Despite Virginia Republican Control of House and the Governor’s Mansion, Most Pro-Life Legislation Hits Senate Democrat Brick Wall

man's hand holding an infants head

With Republicans in control of the House of Delegates and the governorship, and with a pro-life Democrat in the Senate who could offer ties to the Republican lieutenant governor, there were high hopes for pro-life policy when the 2022 General Assembly session began. But with the session approaching its March 12 adjournment, only a few lower-profile pieces of pro-life legislation will make it to the governor’s desk.

“In many ways, it was very much what we expected. We expected the Senate to be nothing but a giant roadblock to any rational or reasonable legislation that would have truly moved the ball forward for protecting unborn children and their mothers. And they did exactly that,” Virginia Society for Human Life President Olivia Gans Turner told The Virginia Star.

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Virginia’s Congressional Delegation Splits Along Party Lines in Vote to Legally Codify Abortion Rights

People marching for women's rights

Virginia’s congressional delegation split along party lines on a vote to legally codify providers’ right to provide abortions and patients’ right to receive abortions. The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 passed out of the House of Representatives Friday in a 218-211 vote with no Republicans voting for, and no Democrats voting against, although two Republicans and one Democrat did not vote. The bill now faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

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Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Groups Support Two Bills Focused on Fetal, Infant and Maternal Health Data

Republican and Democratic legislators don’t often find common ground on pro-life issues in Virginia, but two pro-life bills passed the House of Delegates with unanimous support, and are likely to pass out of the Senate. HB 1950, introduced by lieutenant governor candidate Delegate Hala Ayala (D-Prince William) would develop a plan to create a Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Team in Virginia to collect better data about fetal and infant survival rates. HB 2111, introduced by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), is similar, and establishes a task force to collect data to help create policies focused on improving maternal care. Both bills are now in committee in the Senate.

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Democrats Introduce Two House Bills Expanding Abortion Coverage

Virginia House Democrats have introduced two bills expanding healthcare coverage of abortions. HB 1922, introduced by Delegate Cia Price (D-Newport News) would expand Medicaid abortion coverage and require private employers who offer health coverage to cover abortions. HB 1896, introduced by Delegate Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville), removes a Virginia prohibition of abortion coverage under Obamacare.

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Democrats Considering Bill Forcing Taxpayer-Funded Abortions for 2021 Session

Virginia delegates are evaluating a potential bill for the 2021 regular session that would increase funding for abortions under Medicaid and require individual businesses to include abortions in their insurance plans. A House subcommittee met on Tuesday to discuss House Bill (HB) 1445 and hear public comment on the bill. Planned Parenthood and NARAL representatives offered comment, as well as the Virginia Society for Human Life President Olivia Turner.

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Eight Commonwealth’s Attorneys Pledge to Not Enforce Pro-Life Laws

Eight Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys pledged that they will not enforce any laws criminalizing abortions. The pledge was signed by over 60 prosecutors and state attorneys general and expresses concern over attempts to pass laws limiting abortion. The Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) organization published the pledge on October 14, as Congress holds confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

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Virginia Society of Human Life Fights Potential Right-To-Abortion Amendment

Delegate Kathy Byron (R-Lynchburg) gave an insider’s view of Virginia right-to-life politics at a Zoom fundraiser for the Virginia Society of Human Life (VSHL) on Saturday evening. 100 people tuned in to the event, filling it to capacity. The fundraiser is part of a broader effort within the VSHL to motivate voters for the November election and raise awareness of a likely proposed amendment to Virginia’s constitution coming in 2021.

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