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2 Democratic senators push bill for abortion rights in Virginia

The multi-year process must pass the General Assembly two years in a row with an intervening House election before letting the voters decide.

VIRGINIA, USA — A pair of Democratic Virginia senators have ushered in a constitutional amendment for reproductive rights for the Commonwealth state. If passed, abortion would be provided without discrimination.

Jennifer McClellan, Virginia State Senator for the 9th District, announced Tuesday that the Virginia Senate's Privileges and Elections Subcommittee #1 advanced her SJ 255 amendment, which was a joint effort with Virginia State Senator for 33rd District (Fairfax) Jennifer Boysko. Delegate Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) is also a backer from the Virginia House. 

McClellan stated in a tweet that she is proud to work with Herring to make Virginia the first southern state to expand access to abortion by removing medically unnecessary legal restrictions. 

The amendment will create the right to reproductive freedom consistent with the framework of Roe v. Wade and its legal progeny.

According to McClellan, the amendment to the Constitution of Virginia will establish the fundamental right to reproductive freedom – including abortion care – without interference or discrimination. The amendment will also protect against the criminalization of pregnancy status and outcomes as well as providers from punishment. 

The multi-year process must pass the General Assembly two years in a row with an intervening House election before letting the voters decide. 

Then, if passed by a simple majority, it would become part of the state constitution.

Currently, Virginia law bans abortions after 26 weeks and six days of pregnancy. Governor Glenn Youngkin has proposed a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

When it comes to abortions, the republican governor supports exception for rape, incest and the life of the mother. He said he came to that conclusion after he reflected on his faith and personal beliefs.

“The reality is, as a pro-life governor in a state like Virginia, where I have a Senate that’s controlled by Democrats and a House that’s controlled by Republicans, we have to find a way to get things done,” Gov. Youngkin previously said.

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