Richmond, Va. – On the heels of a People’s Hearing hosted by members of the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance (VREA), the Virginia General Assembly is not considering an abortion ban.
This morning, advocates and legislators spoke out in opposition to any attempts to ban abortion or roll back access to abortion in Virginia. Hundreds of Virginians who oppose abortion bans showed up and chanted, “Bans Off Our Bodies” and “Abortion is Health Care.” Steph Black, Meredith Hill, Christine Payne, Senator Jennifer McClellan, and Delegate Charniele Herring addressed the crowd and reiterated the importance of protecting abortion access in Virginia.
While Governor Youngkin has not sent legislators an abortion ban during the ongoing special session, Virginians must remain vigilant and make their voices heard in advance of the January general session.
Steph Black is an abortion activist in Washington DC and Northern Virginia and took the day off work to attend the event. “People seeking abortions deserve to do so with dignity. While I am always honored to be a part of this process for travelers, I can’t help but feel angry at the legislators who force people to uproot their lives, scramble to find childcare, and use their precious PTO, to make the trek--often alone-- to my city.” Black added, “Governor Youngkin: your neighbors are watching you. We won’t let an abortion ban stand. Washingtonians will be there for any Virginian who needs abortion care.”
Abortion rights advocate Meredith Hill, Richmond, shared “ANY ban on abortion is a threat to the health and livelihood of pregnant people who may experience a miscarriage. Missed miscarriages are often not detected until ultrasounds that occur after the point of many abortion bans’ gestational limits. Not having access to the necessary means to manage these types of miscarriages that can happen to anyone will lead to more physical and emotional trauma, more hospitalizations, more work missed, more generational trauma, and in some cases potential death that could all otherwise be averted.”
Christine Payne, a nurse in Virginia for 38 years said, “From a nursing standpoint any imposed abortion ban would be detrimental to our patients and would create serious setbacks for reproductive and human rights. As nurses, we have an ethical obligation to be advocates, to safeguard the privacy rights of our patients, their families and communities without coercion or fear of criminal prosecution. The American Nurses Association and our state chapter stands firmly in support of reproductive health care and affirm our duty, as members of our professional organization and through our nurse practice act, to continue to advocate for reproductive justice and the sexual health of our patients. We continue to confront racial inequities in our practice and any bans restricting access to safe, legal abortions would deepen the health and economic disparities facing Black and Brown Virginians.”
Senator Jennifer McClellan added, “If I have to keep fighting, I’m going to do it, and I need your help.”
Delegate Charniele Herring also recommitted to fighting for reproductive health, rights and justice in her remarks.
Members of the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance:
ACLU of Virginia
Birth In Color RVA
Blue Ridge Abortion Fund
Hampton Roads Reproductive Justice League
Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice - Virginia
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia Progress Virginia
New River Abortion Access Fund
National Council of Jewish Women, Virginia
National Women’s Political Caucus
REPRO Rising Virginia
Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project
Virginia NOW (National Organization for Women)
Whole Woman’s Health Alliance
Virginia Civic Engagement Table