Democrats who newly control Virginia’s General Assembly this week introduced a bill to create a state constitutional amendment to codify abortion access.
Virginia Democrats won the majority in the General Assembly during off-year elections earlier this month, with an agenda to block Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s push for a 15-week abortion ban, except in instances of rape, incest or risks to the mother’s life.
Republicans in Virginia considered the 15-week ban a compromise, and Youngkin has called it a “limit” rather than a ban; Democrats have warned it could lead to even more extreme restrictions.
“Virginia voters sent a message on November 7 that they want Virginia to remain an open and welcoming state that honors individual freedom, privacy and economic opportunity for all of its residents,” said Scott Surovell, Virginia Senate majority leader.
Proposed constitutional amendments in Virginia do not require the governor’s signature. The resolution to create an amendment must pass both legislative chambers in two sessions over at least two years before the public then votes on the resolution.
Virginia remains the only southern state that has not widely banned or restricted abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade in June 2022. Abortions are currently banned in Virginia after 26 weeks of pregnancy.