Breaking News
More () »

Democratic leaders write to Virginia General Assembly, asking them to codify abortion protections

This comes after Jen Kiggans defeated Rep. Elaine Luria in the House race in Virginia's 2nd District. Luria supports abortion rights, while Kiggans is pro-life.
Credit: AP
House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Del. Barry Knight, R-Chesapeake, standing at left, explains budget amendments during the special session of the 2022 Virginia General Assembly, Friday, June 17, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

NORFOLK, Va. — A group of Democratic federal lawmakers from Virginia sent a letter to General Assembly members Monday, asking the body to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution.

U.S. Reps. Elaine Luria (Dist. 2), Bobby Scott (Dist. 3), Donald McEachin (Dist. 4),  Abigail Spanberger (Dist. 7), Don Beyer (Dist. 8), Jennifer Wexton (Dist. 10) and Gerry Connolly (Dist. 11) penned the letter with U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

In the letter, they said that restricting abortion access hurts young women, low-income communities, women who live in rural areas and women of color disproportionately. They also cited a Christopher Newport University poll from earlier this year that indicated two-thirds of Virginians believe abortion should be legal.

RELATED | Abortion stance could play a big role in who wins midterm elections, survey says

"We are alarmed by the number of states that have implemented total or near-total abortion bans, restricting access to reproductive freedom for millions of women," they wrote. "We are also concerned that Governor Youngkin has indicated that he plans to take Virginia in a similar direction. Shortly after Dobbs was decided, he directed Republican members of the General Assembly to craft legislation to significantly limit abortion access in Virginia."

The letter comes months after Gov. Glenn Youngkin called on state lawmakers to pass new restrictions on abortion, something Virginia House Speaker Todd Gilbert vowed to fulfill. This was after the Supreme Court's overturning of constitutional abortion rights in June.

"This [Supreme Court] decision places an enormous responsibility back into the hands of the General Assembly," Gilbert said in June. "As Speaker of the House, I do not take this burden lightly, especially given the extreme pro-abortion policies that were enacted over the last few years."

RELATED | Soon after Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, Youngkin calls for changes to Virginia's abortion laws

The abortion issue was also prominent during the midterm elections, including the House race in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District, where Luria lost the seat to State Sen. Jen Kiggans, a Republican.

Throughout that campaign, Luria accused Kiggans of being an extremist when it came to the abortion issue; Kiggans has said she is pro-life but believes abortion is a topic that should be discussed with compassion.

"I’ve always been a person who supports abortion in the case of rape, incest and the life of the mother," she said in an October debate.

Before You Leave, Check This Out