ALEXANDRIA, Va. (DC News Now) — After the Supreme Court’s decision to overrule Roe v. Wade, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who opposes abortion, is asking legislators to take action and ban abortions after 15 weeks.
Lawmakers in Richmond believe there is support for the measure, but there are still some hurdles the legislation would face. The Commonwealth has a divided government — a Republican House of Delegates and a 21-19 Democratic majority in the Senate. Though one of those Democrats, Sen. Joe Morrissey, has expressed support for a 15-week abortion ban, some Democratic lawmakers view the majority as just enough to hold off banning abortions.
“We’ll start with these practices that I think are the most egregious and see if we can build some consensus around changing them,” Republican Del. Dave LaRock, who represents parts of Clarke, Frederick, and Loudoun Counties told DC News Now.
Youngkin is asking four anti-abortion Republicans to draft the legislation, saying in a statement that he hopes they can “bring together legislators and advocates… to find areas where we can agree.”
“We do believe it’s an incredibly uphill battle simply because they’re going to use political maneuvering,” said Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation, an anti-abortion organization in Virginia.
That’s because Democrats are slamming on the brakes.
“It’s a personal matter between the woman and her doctor,” said Sen. Adam Ebbin, who represents parts of Arlington and Fairfax Counties, and Alexandria. “Not the woman and the Supreme Court, or the woman and the governor.”
Ebbin said Democratic control of the Senate Education and Health Committee will ensure Youngkin’s desired ban never passes.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen next year,” he said. “We do not want to go backwards. We want to do what we can to protect women’s rights.”
On Friday, the chair of that committee, Sen. Louisa Lucas, doubled down.
“[The abortion ban bill] is DOA — dead on arrival,” she told DC News Now sister station WAVY News. “It will not happen. I will not allow Virginia to be turned back.”
Those on both sides of the issue say November 2023 could be the best chance for Virginians to decide what abortion restrictions are on the books. In that election cycle, both the House and Senate are up for grabs.
“After a year from this November, we would have both majorities and the governor’s mansion,” LaRock said. “I don’t hear people talking about outlying abortion altogether. We’re a long way from that. I would clearly support that. But that’s not where the consensus seems to be at this point, either in the public or in the legislature.”