Richmond, Virginia—Today, the Women’s Equality Coalition brought together hundreds of Virginians to speak to their legislators in Richmond and urge them to support their bold legislative priorities that will protect and expand reproductive freedom and affordable access to abortion, and keep families healthy. For the first time in history, Virginians elected a pro-choice majority in the General Assembly and sent a clear message to legislators—it’s time for our elected officials to lead on these issues.
Throughout the day, advocates shared stories with legislators and reminded them that 7 in 10 Virginians support access to safe and legal abortion. With Roe v. Wade under attack, the time is now for Virginia legislators to act.
The coalition’s legislative agenda includes:
- Protecting and expanding access to reproductive healthcare and rights;
- Paid family and medical leave;
- Preventing maternal mortality.
Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said “Virginia is on the precipice of leading the forward-facing movement to expand and protect abortion access, not just in the commonwealth, but across the South. Today, advocates raised their voices, shared their stories and urge our legislators to take immediate action to achieve real reforms in Virginia.”
“As we enter a new decade with a new pro-choice majority in the General Assembly, Virginia will finally have the opportunity to pass meaningful, lasting reproductive freedom legislation,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “The Commonwealth can finally protect a woman’s bodily autonomy, roll-back harmful restrictions on reproductive healthcare, and become a place that respects a woman’s ability to make her own personal health care decisions–free from political interference. Now, more than ever, Virginians expect the new pro-choice majority to secure a future that safeguards access to abortion care and upholds these fundamental rights.”
“We’re thrilled that so many Women’s Equality Coalition members have taken the time to join us at the Capitol today to talk with their legislators and advocate for these four bills. The Women’s Equality Coalition Agenda would ensure that all of us, regardless of income, race, immigration status, or gender identity have access to the full range of reproductive services, the ability to balance work and family obligations, and the ability to have a safe and healthy pregnancy if they so choose,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “We hope that legislators will pay attention and see how much support there is for bills that lift all of us up.”
“We are excited to keep organizing and pushing for a Commonwealth where our vision for reproductive justice will be attained- a future when all Virginians have the social, economic and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, gender and sexuality for ourselves and our families,” said Margie Del Castillo with the Latina Institute for Reproductive Health in Virginia. “Legislation like our Reproductive Health Equity Act is an exciting step toward that future and we look forward to working with legislators from across the state to push that vision forward to create a Virginia for all.”
“Now is the time for Virginia to be leader in reproductive rights and repeal medically unnecessary barriers that place roadblocks for patient access and improve and expand access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care, including abortion. Everyone deserves the opportunity to decide when and if they want to become a parent. We ask that the legislature to push forward these bills so that they may become Commonwealth law.” Amy Hagstrom Miller, Whole Woman’s Health President and CEO.