The right to choose abortion is essential to ensuring everyone can decide for themselves if, when, and with whom to start or grow a family. We’ll never stop fighting to protect and expand this fundamental human right.
The Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that affirmed abortion as a constitutional right for all was supposed to be the beginning of the fight for reproductive equity and bodily autonomy, not the end. Since then, we’ve been forced to defend it over and over again as anti-choice politicians and organizations focus on undermining and chipping away at our rights until they can do away with legal abortion access completely. They’ve passed hundreds of laws to restrict a patient’s ability to access safe, legal abortion care. These laws take many forms, including trying to outlaw abortion altogether, shutting down clinics, restricting access based on income level, and dictating which medical procedures are available.
As of 2019, Virginia’s abortion access had been rated “severely restricted,” and 92% of Virginia counties have no abortion clinic at all. For over two decades anti-choice legislators have held control of the state House and Senate and they have passed a series of laws – including mandatory 24-hour waiting periods, mandatory medically-unnecessary ultrasounds, biased counseling, and bans on abortion coverage – that limit a patient’s access to abortion. TRAP restrictions on abortion clinics have further decimated access. TRAP or Targetted Restrictions of Abortion Providers in Virginia took the form of a law that required abortions providers that perform 5 or more abortions in a month to be treated as a type of hospital and face additional medically unnecessary regulations that did not apply to other similar medical providers like special building and administrative requirements. In Virginia, fake clinics, or so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers,” outnumber abortion clinics by about 5-to-1.
We hope that change is just around the corner. During the 2020 legislative session, Virginia passed the Reproductive Health Protection Act. When this bill became law on July 1, 2020, many abortion restrictions like the 24-hour mandatory delay, medically unnecessary ultrasound, biased counseling, and TRAP regulations–along with the requirement that only a physician perform abortions early in pregnancy–were lifted. You can read the links below about the Reproductive Health Protection Act and the remaining restrictions on abortion.
Despite this progress, there is still work to be done. In Virginia, insurance coverage for abortions is still restricted, abortion is still in the criminal code, and reproductive rights and choice are still not affirmatively protected in Virginia’s Code or Constitution. Seven in 10 Virginians support the right to legal abortion, so we know Virginians are with us. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia will continue to fight to expand access and keep abortion safe and legal for all, regardless of ZIP code or income. We will mobilize together to defeat attacks in the states and in Congress. We’ll help elect candidates who will be champions for reproductive freedom. And we will continue to educate, inform, and rally the public to protect and expand the fundamental human right of all people to make their own decisions about their lives.
As Virginia continues to make strides towards expanding and protecting abortion access, the Trump-Administration-packed federal courts have continued to threaten abortion rights. Right now, the first abortion case to come before the Supreme Court since Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch joined the bench is under consideration – June Medical Services LLC v. Russo. Click here to learn more.
Restrictions on Abortion Access
Click the issues below to learn how anti-choice politicians and activists are blocking access to abortion care.