A constitutional amendment would restore the right to abortion care in Virginia, lost when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022
January, 11th, 2023
Richmond, Virginia—The Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance and legislative reproductive freedom champions are introducing a constitutional amendment (HJ 519) into the 2023 legislative session. The amendment guarantees that the state cannot deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most personal decisions, including their fundamental right to abortion care. Taking action now is critical to restoring the protections we lost with the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022.
The VREA unequivocally believes in protecting bodily autonomy and the inalienable right to make reproductive healthcare decisions without state or federal government interference. Abortion has been and will always be healthcare and is essential for a person’s well-being and to make decisions about if, when, and with whom to start or grow their family. Antiquated tactics at the state and federal level that recycle inhumane policies and impose harmful restrictions on its people should be a cause for alarm that ignites us into action.
“77% of all Virginia voters trust a pregnant person to make their personal reproductive healthcare decisions, free from political interference. We have made tremendous progress on abortion rights, including passing the landmark Reproductive Health Protection Act to make our Commonwealth a safe haven for abortion access in the South. Following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, it’s time to enshrine the fundamental right to reproductive freedom in the Constitution of Virginia and ensure reproductive health decisions stay in the hands of patients and their healthcare providers rather than anti-abortion politicians,” says bill patron Senator Jennifer McClellan.
“Everyone should have access to the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion, and I look forward to continuing the fight to ensure access to the care all Virginians need. This amendment is crucial to protecting the right for all Virginians to make decisions about all matters related to pregnancy without discrimination,” bill patron Delegate Charniele Herring says.
What the amendment does: HJ519 gives Virginians the freedom to make their own decisions about their health, economic security, and future, not the government.
- Establishes the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including abortion care, without interference.
- Establishes the right to make decisions about all matters related to pregnancy without discrimination.
- Protects against the criminalization of pregnancy status and outcomes.
- Protects against the punishment of providers and those assisting standard reproductive healthcare.
- This process is a multi-year effort that must pass the General Assembly two years in a row with an intervening House election before letting the voters decide. (For Ex: 2023-2024 or 2025-2026)
The VREA will continue to promote: ACTION on behalf of Virginians, ADVOCACY for Reproductive Justice, and ACCESSIBILITY to Reproductive Healthcare for all Virginians in need.
Members of the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance:
Blue Ridge Abortion Fund
Hampton Roads Reproductive Justice League
Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice – Virginia
New River Abortion Access Fund
National Council of Jewish Women, Virginia
National Women’s Political Caucus-Virginia
REPRO Rising Virginia (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice VA)
Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project
Virginia Civic Engagement Table
Virginia NOW (National Organization for Women)
Whole Woman’s Health Alliance