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State Sen. Jennifer McClellan Calls for Constitutional Amendment to Protect Reproductive Rights [UPDATED with Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy’s statement]


UPDATED 9:30 am – See Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy’s statement, below, as well.


From VA State Sen. Jennifer McClellan:

McClellan Calls for Constitutional Amendment to Protect Reproductive Rights

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jennifer McClellan announced today that she will make protecting reproductive rights a priority of her administration, including a constitutional amendment on reproductive healthcare and rights.

“With the prospect of a right-wing Supreme Court, Virginia must take action to protect Roe v. Wade and remain a national leader on protecting reproductive rights,” McClellan said. “I will continue to fight to protect Virginians’ reproductive freedoms even if Roe is overturned, including fighting for a constitutional amendment. Virginia will stand up to protect reproductive health in the face of Donald Trump’s attempts to pack the Supreme Court.”

McClellan will also work with advocates to advance legislative and other actions to strengthen protections for reproductive rights during the 2021 session and beyond.

More than a dozen states have codified Roe v. Wade protections or have existing constitutional protections. Codification of Roe v. Wade would protect abortion access in Virginia, which remains an issue in particular for low-income, LGBTQ and Black and Brown people. A constitutional amendment would create more permanent and bold solutions to enshrine the tenants of Roe v. Wade, constitutionally protect bodily autonomy, and to get reproductive health care out of the Virginia criminal code.

In the 2020 session, Senator McClellan carried the Reproductive Health Protection Act, along with Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), which made Virginia the first state in the south to proactively protect access to abortion care. The RHPA removes medically unnecessary restrictions for a patient seeking access to safe and legal abortion, including mandatory ultrasounds, 24-hour waiting periods, and targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws that require abortion providers to be regulated like hospitals. McClellan was a leading opponent of these restrictions when they passed the House, giving a speech on the House floor in 2012 using her personal copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

“Virginia advocates have worked too hard to roll back years of ideologically driven laws that harmed reproductive health,” McClellan added. “I will not allow those advances to be taken away from Virginians again.”

McClellan has been a fierce protector of reproductive rights throughout her tenure in the legislature. Reproductive health will continue to be a central part of her agenda as Governor.


From Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, who is also a Democratic candidate for governor in 2021.

In Advance of Trump SCOTUS Announcement, Del. Carroll Foy Announces Intent to Amend VA Constitution, Pass Legislation, Appoint Pro-Choice Cabinet to Protect Reproductive Freedom in VA

(Woodbridge, VA) – Today, in light of Donald Trump’s attempts to stack the Supreme Court with far right ideologues that threaten the future of reproductive freedom and Roe v. Wade, Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy announced her pledge to explore and champion every avenue to protect and expand reproductive freedom, including amending the Virginia Constitution, and passing robust legislation. Carroll Foy also announced her committment to appoint a pro-choice cabinet as Governor, ensuring her Administration actively advances policies, such as comprehensive sex education, that support the reproductive freedom of all Virginians.

“Donald Trump is in Virginia today to brag about stacking the Supreme Court with justices that subscribe to his extreme ideology. If he’s successful, no one will suffer more than Virginians who have been subjected to constant attacks on their reproductive freedom for decades,” said Del. Carroll Foy.

“The time for states to take action to protect our rights is now. I pledge to continue working to protect and expand the reproductive freedom of Virginians during my time at the General Assembly and to continue to work as Governor to ensure that a person’s reproductive freedom is protected in the Commonwealth from any attacks at the federal and state level.

“I will explore every avenue, whether passing legislation or amending the Virginia Constitution, to protect and expand reproductive freedom for all Virginians. I also commit to appointing a pro-choice cabinet as Governor. With attacks on reproductive freedom at every level – on sex education, on pregnant women, on working moms – it’s critical to ensure we are actively protecting Virginians’ rights at all levels of government.

“My commitment to advocating for sexual and reproductive healthcare is steadfast. In these uncertain times, as always, it’s critical that we have certainty that we can make our own choices about what’s best for ourselves, our bodies, and our families.”

Jennifer Carroll Foy has dedicated her life to service. As one of the first African American women to graduate from Virginia Military Institute, a foster mom, a magistrate judge, and public defender, Jennifer has embodied the ideals of community, honor and commitment in every facet of her life. During her time in the legislature, Jennifer has led the way on the Equal Rights Amendment, proudly supported the successful fight to expand Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians, and passed a budget that includes a 3% salary increase for teachers. She is a proud mother to twin three year olds, and wife to her husband Jeff, who she met her first week at VMI.


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