Despite major gains in 2020, more work remains in Richmond to expand reproductive health and rights for every body
ALEXANDRIA, VA — This week, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia released the 2020-2021 Legislative Scorecard, scoring each Virginia state senator and delegate on their reproductive health votes during the 2020 General Assembly session.
“After two decades of anti-choice laws and regulations, this is the first year when we’ve been able to really roll back some of the worst restrictions on abortion care,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “As we watch anti-choice politicians across the country shamelessly exploit the COVID19 epidemic to attack women and abortion providers and circumvent the Constitution to ban access, we can be proud that in Virginia we took a huge step forwards in protecting reproductive freedom and expanding access.”
Each year, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia tallies the votes of each state senator and delegate on each reproductive health bill. Legislators are scored based on whether the vote they took would advance reproductive health and freedom. This year, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is introducing a new set of criteria for scoring legislators. The new criteria include both the votes cast as well as a legislator’s overall history of supporting reproductive rights. With these new criteria, we seek to celebrate legislators who have gone above and beyond just casting the right vote, legislators who have stood publicly and proudly for reproductive freedom, legislators who have spoken up for choice. In a time when reproductive freedom is under attack both nationally and across the states, when the Supreme Court is on the verge of gutting our fundamental right to bodily autonomy, we recognize our Champions, who speak up and carry through the values of reproductive freedom and justice in word and deed, and continue to value and support our legislative Allies, who take the right votes even when it isn’t easy.
This year, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia celebrated a major pro-choice victory with the passage of the Reproductive Health Protection Act, rolling back some of the worst restrictions on abortion care and opening up space for new providers to move into Virginia and additional providers to start providing abortion care. This was possible due to the pro-choice majority in the House of Delegates and a changed balance in the Senate, facilitated by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia members’ tireless work to mobilize reproductive freedom voters. Despite our victories, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia looks ahead to expanding reproductive health and rights in the Commonwealth and breaking down barriers to reproductive health access.
“Now it is as important as ever to ensure that healthcare regulations and laws are based in science, not politics,” said Keene. “And we here at NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia are determined to continue to fight to protect and expand reproductive freedom here in the Commonwealth.
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and its PAC support candidates who are dedicated to family planning, preventing unplanned pregnancy, and increasing access to reproductive healthcare for women and families. The organization’s powerful statewide network of 22,000 activists will mobilize pro-choice voters throughout Virginia to help elect candidates in November.