Virginia Democrats introduce abortion rights constitutional amendment

Tuesday morning state democrats unveiled a constitutional amendment from reproductive freedom.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 2:52 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 3:05 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Tuesday morning, state Democrats unveiled a constitutional amendment for reproductive freedom. If adopted, the language would enshrine a woman’s right to have an abortion in the state’s constitution by guaranteeing it.

“As someone who nearly died at childbirth, and now sees that my daughter, when she reaches childbearing years, may not have the same rights I had in our federal constitution,” said State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, (D) 9th District.

The move comes after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade last year, kicking the abortion decision to statehouses, including Virginia.

“I am determined that she will have those rights in our state constitution,” said Sen. McClellan.

“Any pro-life efforts to try and protect the unborn life would essentially be eliminated or would fail because of this constitutional amendment. This has serious repercussions in Virginia if this were ever to be adopted,” said Todd Gathje, Family Foundation Director of Government Relations.

House Republicans are working on their legislation, including a 15-week abortion ban.

“We also want to make sure that there are provisions and resources available to those mothers who choose life over an abortion and to let the know there are alternatives,” said Gathje.

Current law in Virginia allows abortions through the second trimester, which is about 26 weeks. Democrats control the senate, so with divided power, abortion legislation from either side is likely to fail.

The earliest this constitutional amendment measure could take effect is 2026 because the Virginia General Assembly would need to vote on it this year, next year and then voters would ultimately decide.