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Arlington Democrats Reproductive Rights Action Center

PROTECT ABORTION ACCESS IN VIRGINIA

The Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in June, holding that there is no constitutional right to abortion. This ruling marks the first time in history the Supreme Court has overruled the constitutionality of a fundamental right. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization does, however, permit states to legalize abortion, as Virginia currently does. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, there will certainly be efforts to reverse that Virginia law. Democrats must do everything we can to stop that from happening. As a matter of personal freedom, everyone should have control over their own bodies. No one should be forced to undergo pregnancy against their will. A ban on abortions denies people equal rights. Abortion bans also have racially discriminatory effects and inflict serious harm in other, less-often-discussed ways. (Read more).

Protecting Abortion Rights in Virginia 
What Happens in Virginia with Roe Gone?

Abortion is still legal in Virginia, barring future legislative action banning it.

Abortion is legal in Virginia, but it is not protected by a state constitutional amendment or law that enshrines the right. Because it is not a protected right in Virginia, that means Republicans will have an easier time enacting abortion bans and restrictions if they control the government. 

In the short term, it’s critical that the Virginia Senate Democrats use their 21-19 Democratic majority to block abortion restrictions from reaching the Senate floor, as there is a 20-20 tie on abortion rights.

Most bills relating to abortion and other reproductive healthcare must go through the Senate Education and Health Committee. Bills cannot make it out of this committee and onto the Senate floor in order to reliably block a restriction or ban. There is usually a 9-6 majority to block abortion restrictions from passing out of this committee and onto the floor, but it requires work and lobbying. Abortion restriction bills will reliably pass the House of Delegates because it is currently controlled by an anti-abortion Republican majority. 

In 2022, Democrats in the Senate successfully defeated all the abortion bans and restrictions introduced by House and Senate Republicans in committee.

A Democratic majority in both the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate is a sure way to reliably block regressive Republican-sponsored abortion bans and restrictions. These are some restrictions introduced by Virginia Republicans this past session: 

  • A 20-week abortion ban;  

  • Reinstatement of a medically unnecessary 24-hour waiting period;

  • Reinstatement of biased counseling that puts politicians in the middle of private medical decisions; and

  • Felony penalties to punish doctors for not providing medical care that they are already obligated to provide in a continued attempt to push disinformation that stigmatizes abortion and those who provide it. 

If an abortion ban or restriction passes the legislature, Governor Youngkin is likely to sign it. 

 

Virginia is a safe haven for abortion access in the South. Without federal abortion protections, the whole region will be impacted.

DC and Maryland are the next closest locations where abortion rights are protected if Virginia fails to protect abortion access in the coming months and years. For people outside of the DC metro area, this could mean extensive travel to get to a safe location to obtain an abortion. All other states surrounding Virginia have bans or heavy restrictions on abortion.

Virginia Republicans Will Not Protect Abortion Rights

Securing and maintaining a Democratic majority that supports abortion rights in the legislature should be our number one priority to keep abortion access legal and protected in Virginia.

In 2020, Virginia became the first state in the South to proactively get rid of its abortion restrictions, making it a safe haven for people across the South who need abortion care. This happened because Democrats had control of the House of Delegates, Senate, and state executive leadership.

Virginians must elect one more Democratic senator and three more Democratic delegates to the General Assembly to further protect rights and access to abortion care.

If we do not elect more Democrats, Republican politicians in the legislature will take away your freedom to make your own healthcare decisions.

We must ensure that we elect Democrats at all levels of government.

City and County governments control the zoning ordinances that allow abortion clinics to operate in their localities. Delegates and senators can pass legislation that enshrines abortion rights in Virginia or prohibits restrictions on this fundamental right. Federal legislators can work to enact federal legislation that will protect abortion rights in the absence of Roe.

The buck has to stop at a pro-abortion rights Democratic legislature in Virginia. Governor Youngkin will sign extremist Republican abortion bans and restrictions into law.

While he claims to govern from the middle, actions as Governor, officer appointments, and campaign statements make his intentions clear when it comes to abortion rights.

Governor Youngkin parrots disinformation on abortion because he knows he has to distract from the truth: Abortion is common. Roe v. Wade is popular and support for it is wide, regardless of race, income, socioeconomic status, or national identity. Voters support freedom from government interference in making their healthcare decisions.

Governor Youngkin’s 2021 campaign reiterated false talking points on abortion to counter Democrats’ pro-abortion rights stance. His willingness to stray from fact when discussing abortion signals that he is willing to enact restrictive anti-abortion legislation in Virginia. 

We can’t trust Governor Youngkin to protect our freedom to make our own healthcare decisions, including abortion.

Regarding the recent leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs, the Governor chose to chastise the leak itself instead of speak out against the draft opinion’s abandonment of nearly 50 years of established precedent. In January, Glenn Youngkin attended an anti-choice rally in Richmond sponsored by organizers who want to ban abortion outright.

We can’t rely on Attorney General Jason Miyares to protect our constitutional right to an abortion either.

One of the first actions he took as attorney general was to reverse Virginia’s official position on Dobbs and declare that his office believes the Supreme Court should overrule Roe.

We cannot let Lt. Governor Winsome Sears break a tie on abortion-related votes in the Virginia Senate. She openly supports Texas’s bounty statute for those helping someone obtain an abortion, SB 8.

Lt. Gov. Sears has also promised to support a 6-week ban on abortion if she had to break a tie in the Senate. 

Abortion bans and restrictions will affect people regardless of whether they need an abortion, and regardless of whether they can conceive.

Certain medications that are used in abortion care are also used to treat miscarriages and deadly ectopic pregnancies. Some of these medications are also used for other medical conditions such as lupus and procedures such as chemotherapy. There are already reports of abortion restrictions in Texas causing issues at pharmacies for people who are not seeking abortion care, but rather other medical care.

Virginia-Based Resources & Ways to Help
The organizations below have multiple ways to help them support abortion rights and access in Virginia and nationally. All of these organizations are nonprofits that accept donations for their work. Many of these organizations also provide ways to volunteer with them, from lobbying legislators for pro-abortion-rights legislation to participating in electoral campaigns they support. These organizations also regularly provide information and educational events on abortion and other reproductive rights. 
Roe Action Center

Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance: The VREA is a coalition of reproductive rights and justice organizations located in Virginia, merging together the former Pro-Choice Coalition and Women’s Equality Coalition. Members of the coalition are the groups on the ground advocating for reproductive freedom at the Virginia legislature, and governor’s mansion, and putting in the time-consuming work of making Virginians have the resources they need to access abortion and advocate for its protection in the Commonwealth.

Virginia-Based Abortion Funds – These abortion funds are located and help provide funding for medication, procedures, travel costs, and childcare related to aboriton care. They also help patients make appointments and locate a facility where they can obtain abortion care, find travel options, and get the resources they need to obtain an abortion. This is one of the best, direct ways to help people in need of care who have difficulty accessing it. These funds help people located in Virginia and those who come to Virginia from other states where abortion care is banned or restricted.

Blue Ridge Abortion Fund - Located out of Charlottesville, VA.

Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project - Located out of Richmond, VA.

Hampton Roads Reproductive Justice League - Located out of Hampton Roads, VA.

New River Abortion Access Fund - Located out of Blacksburg, VA

DC Metro Area: 

 

Access to Reproductive Care and Health - Located out of Falls Church, VA.

DC Abortion Fund - Located out of Washington, DC.

 

Donation links are easily found on all of these funds’ websites. Donating to an abortion fund is the best way to directly support patients in need of abortion care, abortion providers, and clinics. Setting up a monthly, sustaining donation is a great way to support these organizations long after the shock of the overturning of Roe. 

Do you or someone you know need an abortion? Below is a short list of resources to find information about obtaining one in Virginia or other locations around the country.

National Services

National Network of Abortion Funds 

I Need an A 

Plan C 

Direct Actions Calendar

We will keep a Direct Actions Calendar updated here as events are planned and details become public. 

Stay posted on future direct actions, protests, rallies, and education events by local and national organizations. If you have any events missing, please contact roe@arldemsold.local so we can update the page.

If you’re looking for a way to get involved now, volunteer for local abortion rights organizations, listed above, to lobby the state and federal legislature to pass bills that protect abortion access. Donations are super important to abortion funds because one of the biggest restrictions on whether someone can obtain one is cost of the medication, procedure, and/or travel, lodging, and childcare.

 

The best way outside of donating to abortion funds and reproductive justice organizations is to get involved on behalf of Democratic candidates who support abortion rights. You can do that by volunteering directly for those campaigns, through an abortion rights organization, or volunteering for one of the many campaigns that Beyond Arlington supports (please note: the DPVA and Arlington Democrats do not endorse or campaign for candidates in Democratic primaries, though you are welcome and encouraged to find and support pro-abortion rights candidates in the primaries through a third-party organization like EMILY’s List or with your own research).

ArlDems Beyond Arlington - Works to help Democratic candidates outside of Arlington through phone- and text-banking and canvassing.

ArlDems Blue Families - Supports selected Democratic candidates in Virginia and occasionally North Carolina and Pennsylvania by writing postcards, and phone- and text-banking.

National Resources

National Organizations with resources on abortion, lobbying efforts, and court rulings:

ACLU - Reproductive Freedom Project

Center for Reproductive Rights -  Take Action Toolkit

Planned Parenthood Action Fund - Bans Off Our Bodies

NARAL - Take Action

National Women’s Law Center - Roe Resource Hub

Lambda Legal - What LGBTQ+ People Should Know About Abortion Rights 

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - Abortion Is Essential

Guttmacher Institute - Abortion, Virginia Fact Sheet

 

EMILY’s List - If you’re looking for candidates to support that will protect abortion rights, EMILY’s List supports only pro-choice Democratic women running for office.

We Testify - A national project that learns from and tells stories about abortion and the people who get them in order to eliminate stigma surrounding abortion. 

If you want to most directly protect abortion access in Virginia, please donate, volunteer with, and support the Virginia-based organizations listed above. If you are in the DC area, the above national organizations can often provide resources and information on the greater fight.

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