See below for press releases from the VA Senate Democratic Caucus and Virginia Planned Parenthood:
Senate Democrats Pass Constitutional Amendment to Enshrine Reproductive Freedoms in Virginia’s Constitution
Richmond, VA — Today Virginia Senate Democrats passed Senator Jennifer McClellan and Senator Jennifer Boysko’s Constitutional Amendment, SJ 255, to enshrine the fundamental right to reproductive freedom in Virginia’s Constitution.
This historic Constitutional Amendment enshrines every Virginian has the fundamental right to reproductive freedom and the right to make and effectuate one’s own decisions about all matters related to one’s pregnancy.
Senate Democrats have fiercely been defending Virginia’s reproductive rights against Republican attack this session. Just several weeks ago Senate Democrats voted to pass by indefinitely SB 1483, SB 1385, and SB 1284 all which would have ripped away Virginians’ reproductive rights and banned abortion.
“Thanks to the progress we’ve made in recent years, Virginia is now a safe haven for reproductive healthcare, including abortion,” said Senator Jennifer McClellan. “But, we have seen efforts this session to roll back that progress back through abortion bans. This constitutional amendment would enshrine in Virginia’s constitution the right to reproductive freedom taken away by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dobbs decision. Passing this amendment out of the Senate is a key sign that Virginians are ready to protect reproductive freedom in the constitution.”
“I am so proud to see our Constitutional Amendment to enshrine reproductive freedoms pass the Senate today,” said Senator Jennifer Boysko. “After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, now more than ever it is critical we pass legislation to defend reproductive rights in the Commonwealth. Through this Constitutional Amendment Senate Democrats reaffirmed their commitment to defending your reproductive freedoms. I hope to see the House do the right thing and swiftly pass this important legislation.”
Virginia Senators Advance Constitutional Amendment For Reproductive Freedom
SJ255 would enshrine protections for reproductive health care, including abortion, in the Virginia Constitution
Richmond, Va – Today, the Virginia Senate voted to enshrine reproductive freedom in the state constitution through a proposed amendment, SJ255, which passed on a vote of 21 to 18. The amendment would give Virginians the opportunity to vote directly on whether they believe their reproductive freedom should be protected in the Virginia Constitution and ensure that politicians cannot take our commonwealth backwards by restricting or even banning essential reproductive health care in Virginia. A similar amendment was introduced in the House of Delegates by Delegate Charniele Herring (HJ519) but was passed by indefinitely (defeated) by a House Courts of Justice Subcommittee on January 30.
Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia:
“Today, Virginia’s Senate stood up for the majority of Virginians that want to see abortion rights protected when they advanced a constitutional amendment to allow Virginia voters the opportunity to enshrine reproductive freedom in our commonwealth’s constitution.
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended federal protection for abortion, it made clear that the fight to protect those rights now lies in the states. It is especially critical right now, as several of our neighboring states have either banned abortion or are considering additional restrictions, that the people of Virginia come together to make sure that reproductive health care—including abortion—remains legal and accessible in the Commonwealth.
This amendment would protect the right of Virginians to access the reproductive care they choose – when they need it and without unnecessary barriers, delay, or coercion. Inappropriately restricting essential health care, including abortion, harms Virginians’ health and robs Virginians of their ability to control their lives and futures. It’s time for Virginia to take bold action to protect our reproductive rights by amending our state constitution.”
The vast majority of Virginians want to keep abortion safe and legal. A recent poll from The Watson Center at Christopher Newport University found that 72% of Virginians want our abortion laws to stay the same or be less restrictive.