(Updated at 7:30 p.m.) The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade today (Friday) in a landmark decision that will effectively ban abortion in more than a dozen states.
Abortion remains legal in Virginia, which doesn’t have so-called “trigger laws” that would go into effect with the court’s ruling.
However, shortly after the news broke this morning, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) told The Washington Post that he will seek to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Youngkin put out a statement in response to the decision:
The Supreme Court of the United States has rightfully returned power to the people and their elected representatives in the states. I’m proud to be a pro-life Governor and plan to take every action I can to protect life. The truth is, Virginians want fewer abortions, not more abortions. We can build a bipartisan consensus on protecting the life of unborn children, especially when they begin to feel pain in the womb, and importantly supporting mothers and families who choose life. That’s why I’ve asked Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, Senator Steve Newman, Delegate Kathy Byron and Delegate Margaret Ransone to join us in an effort to bring together legislators and advocates from across the Commonwealth on this issue to find areas where we can agree and chart the most successful path forward. I’ve asked them to do the important work needed and be prepared to introduce legislation when the General Assembly returns in January.
The decision will also not immediately impact the legality of abortion in neighboring D.C. and Maryland.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, the county’s top prosecutor, stated that he will never prosecute women for having an abortion, even if the state laws change, a sentiment he previously shared in a New York Times op-ed.
No matter what the law in Virginia says, I will not prosecute a woman for having an abortion, or for being suspected of inducing one. pic.twitter.com/kgDD1KGWPd
— Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Descano (@FairfaxCountyCA) June 24, 2022
Most of Fairfax County’s representatives expressed outrage, describing the ruling as a rollback on human rights and a “dark moment.”
President Joe Biden, who previously said he’d look to shore up abortion rights, is expected to deliver remarks on the decision at 12:30 p.m.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement that he’s “deeply concerned about the future of women’s rights and healthcare in our nation” but noted that the Supreme Court ruling won’t immediately affect abortion access in Virginia.
“Instead, it puts this decision into the hands of our state officials,” McKay said. “I’ll be paying close attention to any threat to diminish a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare in Virginia to ensure our County healthcare resources and operations can meet these needs, expanding these resources if necessary.”
He also noted that the county is committed to balancing community members’ rights to free speech and assembly and residents’ safety after a draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion leaked in May, prompting protests at the houses of justices who live in the county.
This balance of protecting both the justices and peaceful demonstrators is an important responsibility of our local police. Our County is a diverse one and tied closely with the foundations of our nation both in geography and history — decisions made at the federal level have an immediate impact here locally that few other jurisdictions in our nation will ever experience. I have complete trust in our world-class police department to ensure all residents are kept safe and citizens’ first amendment rights are protected.
In a statement on the Supreme Court justices’ security, Youngkin said that “Virginia will not stand for lawlessness or violence.” In response to previous protests, the governor had suggested that Fairfax County police establish “an expanded security perimeter” around their homes, a proposal that county leaders rejected.
While there are no signs yet of protests being organized in the county, the Fairfax County Police Department says it has “staffed additional resources,” meaning more officers or other personnel, as a precaution.
“As a precaution, we have staffed additional resources to maintain the safety and security of the public, while ensuring First Amendment rights are protected,” the FCPD told FFXnow. “Our Civil Disturbance Unit is trained to help crowds that gather to express their views and our officers are well versed on the laws that govern such gatherings.”
Here’s a roundup of what other local leaders are saying.
From Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw:
While expected, it's outrageous that SCOTUS rolled back reproductive rights and allowed government intrusion into women's health. Abortion and other reproductive health services remain legal in Fairfax Co. and across VA. I'll do all I can to safeguard the right to choose.
— Supervisor James Walkinshaw (@JRWalkinshaw) June 24, 2022
From Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik:
We have just taken a huge step backwards as a nation. As a woman, an immigrant, a new mother, and as representative of one of the most culturally and economically diverse areas, I am appalled at the harmful effects this will have on our nation–especially for the most vulnerable women and girls.
This change in the law has no effect here in Fairfax County–but we are now at the front lines of protecting safe access and education to reproductive health for all women.
From Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk:
My statement on today’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade: pic.twitter.com/zcjvgvOWp6
— Rodney Lusk (@SupervisorLusk) June 24, 2022
From State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D):
My thoughts on the threat posed by the overturn of Roe v. Wade this morning pic.twitter.com/1gQmkm4jdB
— Adam Ebbin (@AdamEbbin) June 24, 2022
In a statement to FFXnow, Del. Mark Keam (D) called the end of Roe v. Wade “not only an affront to women’s rights and to their personal autonomy, but a culmination of a well-funded political campaign designed to impose a narrow minority’s ideological views on the majority of Americans.”
“Despite today’s ruling, all Virginians still maintain the rights to exercise reproductive freedoms, and I am committed to ensuring that our state legislature protects these rights,” he said.
For now, nothing changes in Virginia state laws which continue to protect women’s right to determine their own bodily autonomy.
But these rights hinge on a one-vote majority in the State Senate.
Elections matter and these rights will be on the ballot in November 2023.
— Mark Keam 🇺🇸 (@MarkKeam) June 24, 2022
From Del. Marcus Simon (D):
Virginia is now an abortion rights sanctuary. With your help, I’ll do everything within my power to keep it that way
— Marcus Simon (@marcussimon) June 24, 2022
From the Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Susan Swecker:
— Graham Moomaw (@gmoomaw) June 24, 2022
From Del. Kathy Tran (D):
I am outraged by today’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and take away our constitutional right to make decisions about our bodies. Abortion is currently legal in Virginia, and I will never give up the fight to keep Virginia a safe haven for abortion care.
From U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D):
The Supreme Court just overturned the constitutional right to abortion.
We saw this decision coming after the draft majority opinion leaked last month, but that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. Because of the ruling, states will now be able to make abortion illegal.
I know a lot of people are wondering what we can do. One important task is to continue our work to put more pro-choice leaders into office.
Here in Virginia, I am working hard to support the campaigns of candidates who will protect abortion access in the Commonwealth. My campaign is also supporting candidates nationwide who support the Women’s Health Protection Act.
This federal bill would codify into federal law the right to an abortion, and would nullify the Supreme Court’s attack on women’s reproductive rights. But the only way it will pass is if we expand our majorities in both the House and the Senate.
We do not have time for despair. We must stand stronger than ever before in defense of reproductive rights. Will you add your name now if you are still with us in this fight?
I promised when the draft opinion leaked that I would do everything in my power to protect access to abortion. And that is what I plan to do.
Today’s decision does not change my fundamental belief that everyone deserves the right to make their own reproductive health decisions, and that those decisions should be made without interference from politicians.
Thank you, and I will be sure to keep you updated on this fight,
From U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D):
I am deeply disturbed that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, upsetting decades of precedent protecting the right of women to make fundamental personal decisions about contraception and abortion without unnecessary government interference. That’s why I’ve been engaged in efforts in the Senate to codify the basic framework of Roe v. Wade and related cases into federal law. We’re not going to give up on the fight to protect the right to choose.
From Fairfax County Democrats:
In response to the Supreme Court’s unprecedented decision to overturn 50 years of legal precedence in #RoeVsWade, FCDC Chair @BryanGrahamVA has released this statement ➡️ https://t.co/JRkFdcmGvl https://t.co/A0z4cSNky7
— Fairfax Democrats (@FairfaxDems) June 24, 2022
From state Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D):
The Supreme Court has just overturned Roe v. Wade in a staggering rollback of human rights. Don't think they will stop here.
While abortion access remains legal in VA today, I will continue fighting daily to protect our rights and the rights of our daughters.
This isn't over.
— Eileen Filler-Corn (@EFillerCorn) June 24, 2022
From state Sen. Scott Surovell (D):
The U.S. Supreme Court should be renamed the Supreme Legislature because they are no longer operating in the traditional way court bound by laws and constitutions operate – the name Dobbs will forever be associated with judicial overreach
— 🇺🇦Senator Scott Surovell 🇺🇦 (@ssurovell) June 24, 2022
From Rep. Jennifer Wexton:
The decision to overturn Roe is sickening. The extremist majority on this Court has no respect for established precedent or basic freedoms.
I will never stop fighting for a woman's freedom to make decisions about her own body. Every woman deserves the right to an abortion.
— Jennifer Wexton (@JenniferWexton) June 24, 2022
From state Sen. Dick Saslaw (D):
Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is disturbing and just plain wrong. We will not allow Virginia to turn back 50 years of progress of women's reproductive rights. We will stridently defend a woman's right to choose.
— Senator Dick Saslaw (@DickSaslaw) June 24, 2022
From Rep. Don Beyer (D):
Today's ruling from a right wing Supreme Court majority is a dark moment for America.
From the dissent, "It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of."
Republicans will use this decision to criminalize essential health care for women.
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) June 24, 2022
From state Del. Irene Shin (D):
I'm mad. livid. outraged. & I'm also heartbroken. Devastated for all of us who just lost the right to autonomy over our own bodies & our futures.
VA, for now, remains a safe haven for people seeking an abortion. My colleagues & I are going to fight like hell to keep it that way.
— irene shin 🇺🇦 (@ireneshintweets) June 24, 2022
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