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Governor Youngkin on Supreme Court abortion leak: 'They're trying to create chaos'

Posted at 5:19 PM, May 03, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- President Joe Biden is blasting what he calls a “radical” leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide. On Tuesday, Biden warned that a “whole range of rights” are in jeopardy if it holds.

The court cautioned that the draft was not final, and Chief Justice John Roberts said he had ordered an investigation into what he called an “egregious breach of trust.”

Governor Glenn Youngkin (R - Virginia) echoed Justice Roberts' sentiments calling the leak an "unbelievable breach of confidence."

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"They're trying to create chaos and put pressure on public officials and elected officials," Governor Youngkin said.

Youngkin, who took part in last week's March for Life in Richmond, restated his position as pro-life and said the issue of abortion should be left up to the states to decide.

He would not say whether he'd like to see if Roe v. Wade was overturned, but added he felt there was common ground in Virginia.

"We want fewer abortions in Virginia, not more," he said. "We in fact, don't believe you should be able to get an abortion all the way up through and including birth."

Victoria Cobb, with the pro-life Family Foundation, said she was cautiously optimistic about seeing the leaked draft.

"[We want to see] common-sense restrictions," she said. "We should have safety standards. Women should get full-informed consent. Those are things that the majority of Virginians agree on and that simply we had a period of time where Democrats were out of step with the majority."

Cobb referred to the two years when Democrats had full lawmaking control and expanded access to abortion.

State Senator Jennifer McClellan (D - Richmond) was among those championing the efforts.

She said if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe, abortion would still be legal in Virginia. She said state Democrats, who control the State Senate, would fight any attempts to overturn state law on the issue.

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"The decision of whether to terminate a pregnancy should be between pregnant individuals, their families. and their doctors," she said. "Not up to politicians."

Pro-choice groups like Progress Virginia offered a similar promise to fight actions to limit abortion rights in Virginia.

Executive Director LaTwyla Mathias said they've been mobilizing people across Virginia.

"Democrats were able to put a brick wall and stop [abortion] bans from being passed in our Commonwealth," Mathias said. "But that doesn't mean that the bans are going to stop coming. In fact, they are probably going to increase at this point."

Polling shows relatively few Americans want to see Roe overturned. In general, AP-NORC polling finds a majority of the public favors abortion being legal in most or all cases. Few say abortion should be illegal in all cases.

Still, Americans have nuanced attitudes on the issue.

In an AP-NORC poll conducted last June, 61% said abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances in the first trimester of pregnancy.

However, 65% said abortion should usually be illegal in the second trimester, and 80% said that about the third trimester, though many Americans believe that the procedure should be allowable under at least some circumstances even during the second or third trimesters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.