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Richmond city council votes to protect abortion rights

Posted at 7:17 AM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 07:17:18-04

RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and City Council approved a resolution to protect abortion rights within the city and push the General Assembly to act.

Tuesday night’s unanimous vote follows the Supreme Court decision overturning the Roe v. Wade precedent last month.

Under current Virginia law, abortion is allowed through the second trimester, or about 24 weeks. Third trimester abortion is allowed under certain circumstances like the mother's life being at risk or fatal fetal diagnoses.

Governor Glenn Youngkin said he'd like to see lawmakers pass a 15-week threshold for abortions in Virginia.

“I'm a pro-life governor, and I was very excited about the ruling coming out of the Supreme Court that reverts back to states, I believe, what is a fundamental right to make these decisions,” Youngkin said following the SCOTUS decision. “I believe that this is a moment where the Commonwealth of Virginia can come together.”

The city detailed their demands in a press release:

  • Protecting the Reproductive Health Protection Act of 2020, and ensuring no new restrictions or bans;
  • Introducing and passing a constitutional amendment to define abortion as a right protected by the Virginia Constitution, thereby protecting access to safe, legal abortion for years to come;
  • Passing the Reproductive Health Equity Act and expanding access to abortion funding; and,
  • Repealing state restrictions and removing abortion from the criminal code of Virginia.

Republicans hold the majority in the House, so these demands are unlikely to pass, for now.

“For the first time in my lifetime, the court has taken away a right and that my daughter could have fewer rights than I do is outrageous,” said Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond. “I have fought these proposals in the past. I’ll keep fighting these proposals and we’re going to make sure they don’t pass in January or after January.”

Youngkin has tapped four Virginia Republicans to write up new abortion restrictions. He said at least one Democrat could join the Republicans and work to pass a 20-week threshold instead.

“I believe that this is a moment where the Commonwealth of Virginia can come together. That's why I've brought together, I think, some of the most respected senators and delegates to work on this and to reach across the aisle. We can work towards a compromise bill that could be introduced in January,” he stated.

Stoney said three of the state’s 15 clinics are in the city. He and some council members believed the clinics will see a surge of new patients as other states ban or restrict abortions.

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