What the Roe ruling means for Virginia, North Carolina

AP Poll Abortion
Posted at 11:32 AM, Jun 24, 2022

NORFOLK, Va. - The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade will send the issue back to individual states.

In Virginia, abortion is legal through the second trimester of pregnancy, although the law does allow an abortion in the third trimester if a mother's life is at risk.

Moving forward, Virginia has a divided state government, meaning further restrictions on abortion do not appear likely in the short term. However, all state lawmakers are up for re-election in 2023.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, describes himself as a pro-life governor. In a statement following the ruling, he vowed to work with the General Assembly to "find areas where we can agree and chart the most successful path forward."

He's voiced support for placing restrictions on abortion when a fetus begins to feel pain in the womb and through a spokesperson confirmed he'd like to see the threshold be 15-weeks.

During a rally in Richmond on Friday afternoon, Democrats vowed to block further restrictions on abortion. "Here in Virginia, abortion is legal. We have already become a safe haven in the south. We will fight tooth-and-nail to stay that way," said State Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond).

Currently, Democrats have a 21-19 majority in the state Senate. Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), chair of the Senate Education and Health Committee, vowed to prevent any anti-abortion legislation from passing through the committee.

"I will fight like hell to make sure that none of those bills pass through that committee," she told News 3.

On the Republican side, Del. Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) said he could support a proposal similar to what Youngkin wants to see. "[The mother] has ample time to understand that she's pregnant, to receive consultation for options that she has regarding the pregnancy, but then there comes a point where the state has a right to protect the life of the child," he said.

State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) said she would support legislation that goes further. "I do believe life begins at conception and I will do everything I can to protect life," she said.

Youngkin said he would work with lawmakers to have them introduce new legislation in January.

Meanwhile in North Carolina, abortion remains legal following the ruling, but it could reignite a debate about whether to ban it after 20-weeks.