The Fact and Fiction of Abortion Rights in Virginia

Even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion will still be legal in Virginia. However, equally true, Virginia is one vote away from banning abortion.

We have reached a pivotal moment in the fight for reproductive justice. While not conclusive, the leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade portends the sobering reality that reproductive rights are under serious attack across the country. Virginia faces two conflicting realities when it comes to abortion in the Commonwealth. First, the good news: if Roe v Wade is overturned, abortion will still be legal in Virginia, absent a change in the law.   

But equally true is the fact that abortion rights are in deep peril here. Virginia is literally just one vote away from banning abortion. During the 2022 General Assembly, seven anti-abortion bills were introduced. Efforts to reinstate onerous, medically unnecessary barriers to abortion like a twenty-week abortion ban, written informed consent, and biased counseling were thwarted, but similar and even more restrictive bills could be re-introduced by legislators in future sessions. And while these barriers and abortion bans would affect all people, they would create the most significant barriers for Black and Brown communities, people with disabilities, people in the LGBTQ+ community, people who are poor, people who are young, and people who live in rural areas.   

Nearly one in four women who can become pregnant in America will have an abortion in their lifetime. And that means that, almost certainly, someone you know and love has made the decision to end a pregnancy. People end pregnancies for a myriad of reasons – they aren’t ready to be a parent; they have survived abuse, rape, or incest; they cannot afford another child; they are at risk for complications that can put their lives in danger.  These decisions are deeply personal, and they are best made by people who know what is best for themselves. Abortion is a low-risk, incredibly safe medical procedure. In short, it is healthcare. Where abortion is illegal, pregnant people’s health suffers, and sometimes, they die. History has proven that making abortion illegal doesn't stop people from seeking the care they need; it only makes it less safe. The decision to have an abortion is a healthcare issue that should be left up to an individual and their doctor; it should not be made by politicians and judges. 

So now more than ever, it’s important that people act. Join the ACLU of Virginia and coalition partners* across the Commonwealth, to urge all that believe in reproductive freedom to: 

Take the time to hear the stories of people who’ve had an abortion, or if you’ve had an abortion, share your story.

Support abortion funds, abortion providers and organizations advocating for abortion access. Virginia funds include: 

Attend rallies and protests in your community.

For the most up-to-date information, visit our Action Hub on Abortion Rights here.  

Attend a virtual upcoming Abortion Rights Town Hall being hosted by the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance (VREA)

The town hall will be held on Thursday, May 5 at 7:00 p.m. Register here:  

Reach out to your legislators, Governor Youngkin, and Lieutenant Governor Sears in support of abortion access here in Virginia. 

Despite today’s deeply concerning outlook, these are the moments for which the ACLU of Virginia and our partners were created. We believe that the decision of if/when/how to carry a pregnancy to term is a healthcare decision, not a political one. We’re prepared to initiate advocacy on every level – through our legislature, our communities, and our courts to ensure that Virginia remains a safe haven for abortion rights and reproductive justice.

*Members of the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance  

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia   

Progress Virginia   

Pro-Choice Virginia  

Birth in Color 

ACLU of Virginia  

Whole Woman’s Health Alliance  

Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice Virginia  

Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project   

Virginia Chapter, NOW (National Organization for Women)  

Hampton Roads Reproductive Justice League  

Blue Ridge Abortion Fund  

National Council of Jewish Women, Virginia   

NOW Virginia chapter