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SJ255 would enshrine protections for reproductive health care, including abortion, in the Virginia Constitution

Richmond, VA – Today, the Virginia Senate voted to enshrine reproductive freedom in the state constitution through a proposed amendment,  SJ255, which passed on a vote of 21 to 18. The amendment would give Virginians the opportunity to vote directly on whether they believe their reproductive freedom should be protected in the Virginia Constitution and ensure that politicians cannot take our commonwealth backwards by restricting or even banning essential reproductive health care in Virginia. A similar amendment was introduced in the House of Delegates by Delegate Charniele Herring (HJ519) but was passed by indefinitely (defeated) by a House Courts of Justice Subcommittee on January 30. 


Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia: 

“Today, Virginia’s Senate stood up for the majority of Virginians that want to see abortion rights protected when they advanced a constitutional amendment to allow Virginia voters the opportunity to enshrine reproductive freedom in our commonwealth’s constitution. 

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended federal protection for abortion, it made clear that the fight to protect those rights now lies in the states. It is especially critical right now, as several of our neighboring states have either banned abortion or are considering additional restrictions, that the people of Virginia come together to make sure that reproductive health care—including abortion—remains legal and accessible in the Commonwealth. 

This amendment would protect the right of Virginians to access the reproductive care they choose – when they need it and without unnecessary barriers, delay, or coercion. Inappropriately restricting essential health care, including abortion, harms Virginians' health and robs Virginians of their ability to control their lives and futures. It’s time for Virginia to take bold action to protect our reproductive rights by amending our state constitution.”


The vast majority of Virginians want to keep abortion safe and legal. A recent poll from The Watson Center at Christopher Newport University found that 72% of Virginians want our abortion laws to stay the same or be less restrictive.  


Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia (PPAV) is a statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to preserve and broaden access to reproductive health care through legislation, public education, electoral activity and litigation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. PPAV works to ensure that individuals and families have the freedom, information, and ability to make their own informed reproductive