VIRGINIA, USA — As North Carolina becomes the fourth state bordering Virginia to ban abortion, the Commonwealth remains in limbo on this issue.
North Carolina state legislators overturned Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of a bill that would ban abortion at 12 weeks in the state late Tuesday. That law now takes effect on July 1.
Meanwhile, Virginians are still able to access abortion care through the end of the second trimester. It's a status Governor Glenn Youngkin wants to change.
At the beginning of the governor's term, he pushed for a 15-week ban on abortion in Virginia with exceptions to rape, incest, or if the mother's life is in danger.
At an event in Virginia Beach, 13News Now asked Governor Youngkin how he felt about North Carolina's 12-week ban and other regulations and if they aligned with his goals for Virginia.
"As soon as the Supreme Court ruling was rendered last summer, I reminded Virginians that I am a pro-life governor and I do believe in the exceptions in the case of rape or incest, or if the mother's life is in jeopardy," Youngkin said in response to the question. "I believe a place where Virginians could come together was around a 15-week bill, to protect life at 15 weeks."
In January, Virginia Senate lawmakers voted down several bills that would have restricted abortion access in the state, including Youngkin's 15-week ban proposal.
However, advocates with Planned Parenthood of Virginia said the new laws passed by four surrounding states could push more people to the Commonwealth.
"We know it will have a ripple effect. All of these states banning abortion will cause more folks to travel out of state to Virginia to access care," said Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. "It kind of remains to be seen, but we are anticipating thousands of patients will likely seek care in Virginia as a result of these bans."
Lockhart said because more people are likely going to seek assistance in a state considered to have permissive laws on abortion health care, Virginia could see more problems as a result.
"That will not only impact folks who would travel to Virginia seeking care, but it would impact Virginians who would have longer wait times and won't be able to access care as quickly as they'd like," said Lockhart. "North Carolina passing this monster abortion ban is just devastating for abortion access across the south."
13News Now also asked Governor Youngkin about the possibility of more people coming to his state for help.
In response, the governor said, "I think the movement of folks around the United States is something every state is going to have to address or reconcile. I am really focused as I'm trying to serve all Virginians and bringing us around a bill to protect life at 15 weeks. I think we can get it done."
Lockhart said before the new law takes effect on July 1 in North Carolina, providers like Planned Parenthood are preparing to expand services for the possible influx of patients hoping to receive their care.
There could soon be changes in South Carolina and Florida, as well, adding to the pressure of Virginia's status on the hot debate.
South Carolina lawmakers are deciding if they should pass a law that would ban abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, often before people know they are pregnant.