Virginia leaders, organizations react to SCOTUS overturning of Roe v. Wade

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 11:01 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Politicians and organizations across Virginia are reacting to the newly-released opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States which overturns Roe v. Wade. This decision means that states can now ban abortion; there is no longer federal protection for abortion.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) issued a statement. He writes:

“The Supreme Court of the United States has rightfully returned power to the people and their elected representatives in the states. I’m proud to be a pro-life Governor and plan to take every action I can to protect life. The truth is, Virginians want fewer abortions, not more abortions. We can build a bipartisan consensus on protecting the life of unborn children, especially when they begin to feel pain in the womb, and importantly supporting mothers and families who choose life. That’s why I’ve asked Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, Senator Steve Newman, Delegate Kathy Byron and Delegate Margaret Ransone to join us in an effort to bring together legislators and advocates from across the Commonwealth on this issue to find areas where we can agree and chart the most successful path forward. I’ve asked them to do the important work needed and be prepared to introduce legislation when the General Assembly returns in January,” said Youngkin.

Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) also took to Twitter to share a statement. Miyares wrote in a statement, in part, “Good and reasonable people can disagree on this issue but now Virginians, not federal judges, can decide its future.”

On Twitter, US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) wrote he was heartbroken, and pledged to continue to work to protect access to safe, legal abortion.

US Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) echoed the sentiment, writing in a statement:

“I am deeply disturbed that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, upsetting decades of precedent protecting the right of women to make fundamental personal decisions about contraception and abortion without unnecessary government interference. That’s why I’ve been engaged in efforts in the Senate to codify the basic framework of Roe v. Wade and related cases into federal law. We’re not going to give up on the fight to protect the right to choose.”

Kaine also took to Twitter with a statement.

US Rep. Ben Cline (R-6):

“Today, the Supreme Court of the United States applied sound Constitutional principles in its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“The Court’s decision leaves the debate over this important issue to the people of the fifty states and their elected representatives.

“As Justice Alito said writing the majority opinion for the Court, ‘We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by a constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty…’ The right to abortion does not fall within this category.’

“With its ruling today, the Supreme Court is to be commended for its decision to finally heed the Constitution on this issue and return the abortion debate to the people’s elected representatives.”

Virginia Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City), Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover), Caucus Co-Chairman Mark D. Obenshain (R-Rockingham), Caucus Whips William M. Stanley, Jr. (R-Franklin) and Bryce E. Reeves (R-Spotsylvania), and Republican Leader Pro-Tempore Stephen D. Newman (R-Bedford:

“Reaffirming the Constitution of the United States, today’s Supreme Court decision returns to the people, through their elected representatives in the states, decisions regarding the protection of human life, specifically unborn children and their mothers.

“This reversal of the Court’s previous decisions undoubtedly will result in lawmakers of both parties introducing legislation for the General Assembly to consider during its 2023 regular session. Senate Republicans stand ready to fulfill our duty by giving a fair hearing to legislation related to all perspectives on this and every issue.

“Regrettably, we are not confident our Democratic colleagues share that commitment. During the 2022 regular session, the majority bottled up the Born Alive Infant Act, House Bill 304, sending it on a sub-committee and committee merry-go-round before eventually defeating the measure in a committee on which they hold a severely disproportionate, nearly 3-to-1, partisan advantage. This use of procedural legerdemain to deny the most basic protections to infants was reprehensible and diminished the Senate of Virginia.

“Going forward, we hope our Democratic colleagues will reconsider their extremism on the issue of life, and join us in restoring practical, sensible, and reasonable policies that ensure the health and safety of mothers and protect the lives of our most vulnerable Virginians.”

Statement from Republican Party of Virginia:

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States took long overdue action to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the power to legislation on abortion to the states, where it rightfully belongs. In Virginia, we are proud to have a pro-life Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General who are committed to protecting the life of unborn children. We look forward to supporting the work of our leadership in the coming year that produces results for Virginians.

We also unequivocally condemn the violence and intimidation tactics being used against Supreme Court Justices and pro-life pregnancy centers, and call on Democrats to similarly denounce these acts. We stand with Governor Youngkin and Attorney General Miyares in taking action to protect the integrity of the judiciary, pro-life charities, and lawful businesses in our Commonwealth from violence at the hands of pro-abortion radicals.

Virginia House Speaker Todd Gilbert (R):

“The Supreme Court of the United States today corrected a nearly five-decades old decision and returned power to the states as it relates to abortion. I have been a pro-life delegate since being elected in 2005, and will remain pro-life as Speaker of the House of Delegates. “All Virginians want fewer abortions, not more, and House Republicans stand ready to achieve that goal. Our Caucus is ready to work with Democrats to protect the life of unborn children, particularly those who science has proven can feel pain in the womb. I sincerely hope that Democrats will end their use of scare tactics and work with Republicans as the people of Virginia expect. “This decision places an enormous responsibility back into the hands of the General Assembly. As Speaker of the House, I do not take this burden lightly, especially given the extreme pro-abortion policies that were enacted over the last few years. There is more that unites than divides us on this issue and there is much work to be done.”

Senator Amanda Chase (R):

“Today the Supreme Court correctly ruled that the issue of abortion should not be decided by unelected federal judges, but by the people of the States through their elected representatives. I am honored to be one of those state representatives who represents many of you in the Virginia Senate.

When I was first elected by many of you in 2015 and then re-elected in 2019. I was an unapologetic pro-life Senator who introduced pro-life legislation like the Heartbeat Bill and the Pain Capable Bill to ensure the human treatment of the unborn, and I remain that same Senator today.

When I sought the nomination both times, I campaigned on my intrinsic belief that all life comes from God and that we must protect the Constitutional rights of the born and unborn. For over fifty years, the unborn have had no due process.

This decision was never to have been made by the Supreme Court and now rightfully that decision has been overturned and given to the states, where together with their representatives, the citizens will be able to have input in that decision.

The Supreme Court has corrected a ruling that occurred over 50 years ago and as a result the lives of millions of babies who have been born in the greatest country ever have been snuffed out with absolutely zero due process.

I’m elated that after 50 years of injustice, the federal courts have reversed this tragic injustice and look forward to being on the right side of history in restoring due process and the Constitutional rights of the unborn.”

Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia:

“This is a devastating decision that will impact millions of people across the country,” said Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. “PPAV’s mission has always been to protect abortion access for those who need care in Virginia and beyond, and this decision does not change that. We will continue to hold anti-abortion legislators accountable and work with our champions to ensure they block any attempts to restrict access to care for those who need it. In this moment, we see and stand with the majority of Virginians who want abortion to remain legal. Not only that, but Virginia voters will be watching how legislators react at this moment and remember when it comes time to head to the ballot box.”

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond/The Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout:

“Today, I am gratified that our nation’s highest court has overturned the fundamentally unjust Roe v. Wade decision and restored to states the ability to protect the dignity and rights of the human person from the moment of conception. Every life – both mother and children – is sacred and immeasurably loved and valued by God. I pray that throughout our nation – including here in Virginia – lawmakers will open their hearts to the opportunities before them to protect unborn children, support women in crisis pregnancies and promote life-affirming alternatives to abortion.

“Our local Church works to support and walk with women and couples who find themselves in unexpected or stressful pregnancies. As followers of Christ, we must walk with them during these challenging times.

“Throughout the year, many of our parishes and Catholic institutions faithfully are the hands and feet of Christ by providing support so women can be assisted, comforted and strengthened to transform their lives in order to give their baby life. I am deeply grateful for the work of Commonwealth Catholic Charities’ Seton Housing Program – a new initiative, nearly a year old, which provides a whole life care for mother and baby. In the eastern part of our state, Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia served and empowered more than 350 mothers through its Pregnancy Support Program. Portsmouth-based Hope4Life dedicates itself to supporting moms with unplanned pregnancies and being a critical intervention to women when they are most in need. This non-profit is supported by many of our Catholic parishes and faithful. Resources are also found through Williamsburg House of Mercy – an extension of St. Bede Catholic Church, Mary’s Choice RVA, the East End Pregnancy Center as well as the pregnancy resource centers in Richmond and Roanoke supported by the Knights of Columbus.

“For decades, the faithful who have vocalized and promoted the sanctity of life have felt like “the voice crying out in the wilderness” – the words the prophet Isaiah uses to describe the role of John the Baptist in proclaiming the coming of Christ. There have been many courageous, devoted and faith-filled individuals and families who have embraced this teaching. I am thankful for the faithful who use their voice to advocate for the unborn and for the sanctity of all life. This goal must be pursued with firmness and respect. We should not mistake politeness or civility for faintheartedness. Respect and charity are the Christian manner of stating one’s case, listening to what others say and responding. If we are to have any success in promoting pro-life concerns, we must commit to engaging in charitable dialogue.

“While today’s decision brings much hope, tragically some will continue and even intensify their advocacy of abortion. I offer my prayers for the vitally needed conversion of minds and hearts and steadfastly ask the Holy Spirit to keep all safe during this time. With prayer and perseverance may we find the peace and abundant life that Christ offers.”

Liberty University President Jerry Prevo:

“Today, on behalf of Liberty University, I want to express our gratitude to Almighty God for the landmark decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States. While this does not effectively end abortion in America, it is a monumental step in the direction of protecting life and placing that decision squarely in the hands of the American people.

For nearly 50 years, Liberty University students, faculty, and staff have prayed, volunteered, and advocated for the life of mothers and their unborn babies. The Liberty student body has led the way and marched year after year, prayed on the steps of the Supreme Court, and committed their lives to pro-life causes. As Liberty University president, I am proud that we are now officially training the first Post Roe-v-Wade generation of leaders who will be Champions for Christ to continue to advocate for the life of mothers and their unborn babies.”

Mary Bauer, Executive Director, ACLU of Virginia:

We are beyond disappointed with today’s U. S. Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Medical Clinic that overturned Roe v Wade. Today’s decision will allow anti-abortion politicians in states across the country to ban abortion and force countless people to remain pregnant and have children against their will. This especially will negatively impact Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, immigrants, LGBTQ+ folks, low-income people, young people, and those who live in rural areas. But there is one thing about which we want to be clear. Abortion is still safe and legal in Virginia. Yet even in the Commonwealth there are politicians who want to curtail or take away our access to safe abortions. We will be fighting in the legislature, in the courts, and in communities to protect and expand the right to abortion in the Commonwealth. We’ll continue our work to ensure that Virginia remains a place where women and people who can become pregnant are empowered to make choices for their lives and determine their own futures. We call on like-minded Virginians to let their voices be heard.

This article will be updated with more reactions from leaders and organizations as they become available.

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