VIRGINIA (WDVM) — One of the nation’s most restrictive abortion bans just went into effect in Texas, but Virginians are rallying to protect abortion rights.

“This Texas law makes your abortion everyone’s business but your own,” said Jamie Lockhart, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia.

With this new law, SB8, Texans can no longer get abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy. SB8 is creating nationwide debate and even grief for some like Jesse Torrey, Managing Director of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance.

“I’m really grateful to be here today, but I’m also really sad to be here today,” said Torrey.

This local nonprofit independent abortion provider operates in Virginia but also in Texas, Indiana and Minnesota.

“Whole Woman’s Health is the lead plaintiff in this case that we’re trying to fight against SB8, along with a whole host of providers abortion funds, advocates, and we’re all really saddened today but what I wanted to share a little bit about is what it looked like yesterday in Texas,” stated Torrey.

“There are four full women’s health clinics in Texas, and the staff saw their last patients completed with them at 11:56 p.m. right before the deadline, when SB8 came went into effect […] I also want to share that yesterday. Protesters showed up as they often do, but they stayed all day into the night. Shining spotlights, when it got dark, calling the police. Calling the fire department, and it was clear its surveillance there already taking this law, and doing what they can to try to intimidate patients and staff on an on a level that is even beyond what we see on a day to day basis,” Torrey continued.

There are others who are strong believers of the law, like Texas native and Texas Right to Life member Kim Schwartz.

“The state has an interest in protecting fetal life,” said Schwartz. “That’s what this texas heartbeat act is about.”

State officials, like Senator Ghazala Hashmi, Representing Virginia Senate District 10, is advocating against these abortion bans.

“We have to continue to make progress in Virginia, and we must ensure that abortion care is accessible to all people across the Commonwealth,” said Hashmi.

Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is also advocating to protect the right to abortion for women.

“I believe these health decisions should be made by a woman about her own body, and I don’t believe that these men ought to be writing all these rules that affect women,” said McAuliffe.

These local Virginia groups and more are coming together, saying they’ll continue to fight against the ban on abortions.

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