If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the rights of thousands of Virginian women will be thrown into question. While the commonwealth does not have an abortion ban on the books, our governor has said that he is “staunchly, unabashedly” against abortion and fully committed to “going on the offense” against abortion rights in our legislature. Should Roe fall, he could well strip women of their reproductive rights — and go after thousands more who flock to the state whenever neighboring jurisdictions clamp down on abortion access. What’s more, in Virginia today women who are suspected of terminating a pregnancy without the assistance of a certified medical professional can face felony charges if they miscarry.
So when the court’s draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked earlier this month, I committed to never prosecute a woman for making her own health care decisions. That means that 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.
I didn’t make this decision lightly. But I knew my constituents were tired of the empty rhetoric from Democrats in Washington, desperate for action and understandably fearful for their future.
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