Virginians Protest in Support of Abortion Access  

Richmond, VA—On Saturday afternoon, thousands of Virginians met at Monroe Park for the Bans Off Our Bodies protest to lift up their voices in support of abortion access. Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is expected to decide Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that will decimate abortion rights across the country. Though the decision won’t be final until next month and abortion remains legal in Virginia and in all 50 states, a leak of the decision indicates that the Court will overturn nearly 50 years of precedent in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. If this decision is issued, 26 states are poised to move quickly to ban abortion, promptly stripping abortion access away from more than 36 million birthing people in one fell swoop. 

A leaked draft opinion indicating SCOTUS’s intent to strike down the constitutional right to abortion incited anger and shock in communities across Virginia, moving many to speak out in opposition through protests, rallies, and marches. Members of the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance, state partners, advocates, and community members stood in solidarity to protest the anticipated ruling and publicly resist the annihilation of abortion rights across the country. 

Speakers

Narissa Rahaman with Equality VA

Alex Gwynn with ProChoice VA

LaNeda Wright with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia

Kamari (Kam) Branch, she/they, Community member 

Ammie Pascua,she/they, Community member 

Afton Bradley, they/them, Community member 

Senator Jennifer McClellan 

Congressman Donald McEachin

Lashrecse Aird, Virginia League for Planned Parenthood board member 

“We are here in solidarity with the eighty percent of Virginians who support abortion health care, and believe it should it should legal,” LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director of Progress Virginia said. “ We know that abortion will continue to be legal in Virginia, but the future of abortion rights for our community members depends on our elected officials serving in Richmond. We have a one vote majority in the Senate that we must hold on to now if we want to protect abortion access. This is an all hands on deck situation. Everyone needs to be involved in this fight for reproductive justice.”

“Thousands of Virginians came together today in a show of solidarity to declare: no courts, no politicians, and no bans should ever take your freedom and right to make personal medical decisions – including your right to abortion,” said Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. “We will continue fighting to ensure everyone can receive the abortion care they need without politically-motivated obstacles.” 

“We’re here today because we know that abortion bans restricting reproductive health have a negative impact on everyone, but especially Black and brown people, people with disabilities, queer and trans people, immigrants, and people who are low-income.” said Breanna Diaz, Policy and Advocacy Counsel for the ACLU of Virginia. “Your access to abortion shouldn’t depend on who you are – and that’s what overturning Roe v. Wade will do, make abortion less accessible to those who need it. Abortion and reproductive care are essential to how people plan their lives and futures. Every person deserves the right to determine that for themselves.”

“The threat to abortion access across the country is not hypothetical–our right to abortion is being crushed right now”, said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of Pro-Choice Virginia.  “The impending Supreme Court decision will be swift and devastating for communities nationwide, especially Black and Brown people, trans and nonbinary folks, people with low incomes, and people who live in rural communities, where health care can be extremely hard to access. People have been fighting tirelessly for generations to gain and protect the rights we have today. We are in the fight of our lives right now! We will not back down. And here in Virginia, we will continue to do all we can to make sure everyone has the power to control their own bodies, lives, and futures.”

Members of the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance 

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia 

Progress Virginia 

Pro-Choice Virginia

ACLU of Virginia

Whole Woman’s Health Alliance

Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice Virginia

Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project 

Virginia Chapter, NOW (National Organization for Women)

Hampton Roads Reproductive Justice League

Blue Ridge Abortion Fund

National Council of Jewish Women, Virginia