The Grayson County Board of Supervisors is considering an ordinance that was drafted for and advanced by Mark Lee Dickson, an anti-abortion activist from Texas. The proposed ordinance, which is expected to be voted on by the Board on Dec. 14, 2023, would make it a Class 1 misdemeanor to send or receive, through the mail or common carrier, any item or material that is designed, adapted, or intended to be used to perform an abortion, or to aid or abet anyone else in getting the healthcare they need.
This proposed ordinance is clearly invalid under Virginia law and the U.S. Constitution, will result in costly litigation, and will deter healthcare providers from serving the residents of Grayson County. The ACLU-VA strongly recommends that the Board decline to act on this proposal and reject the ordinance.
Our message to the Grayson County Board of Supervisors is simple: Abortion remains legal in Virginia. "The attempt to impose additional criminal penalties on the provision of important aspects of healthcare through a local ordinance would be invalid because it conflicts with this comprehensive statutory and regulatory scheme," states the letter.
We must protect access to reproductive healthcare, especially as Virginia is the only abortion access state left in the entire South with no new restrictions after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Our neighbors rely on us for abortion access, especially in the Appalachian region. Local ordinances like what was proposed in Grayson County serve no benefits to the residents of Grayson County and deserve no place in our Commonwealth. The Board should reject this proposal in its entirety.
You can read our full letter below.