Republicans Reject Constitutional Amendment Guaranteeing Right to Reproductive Freedom

Richmond, Virginia—Republican members of the House Courts of Justice Subcommittee #1 rejected Delegate Charniele Herring’s HJ519, a constitutional amendment that would have guaranteed a fundamental right to reproductive freedom in Virginia. It’s disappointing but not surprising that these largely white, Republican men would reject the amendment, but we will keep working to ensure that everyone can decide whether and when to become a parent for themselves. 

“With the right to get an abortion under attack across the country, taking the first step to pass this constitutional amendment would have gone a long way towards protecting access to abortion here in Virginia. It’s disappointing that a committee made up of mostly men who will never be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term rejected the constitutional amendment that would guarantee access to abortion in the Commonwealth,” LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “Being denied an abortion can have devastating economic consequences and drive people deeper into poverty, and Virginians should have the freedom to make their own decisions about their health, economic security, and future, not politicians in Richmond who have no idea what their circumstances are. We will keep fighting to ensure that everyone has access to the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion, on their own terms.” 

What the amendment does:

This amendment gives Virginians the freedom to make their own decisions about their health, economic security, and future, not the government.

  • Establishes the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including abortion care, without interference.  
  • Establishes the right to make decisions about all matters related to pregnancy without discrimination. 
  • Protects against the criminalization of pregnancy status and outcomes. 
  • Protects against the punishment of providers and those assisting standard reproductive healthcare.
  • This process is a multi-year effort that must pass the General Assembly two years in a row with an intervening House election before letting the voters decide. (For Ex: 2023-2024 or 2025-2026)