Richmond Mayor Stoney, abortion rights activists react to Roe v. Wade ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade Friday morning
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 11:58 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2022 at 8:22 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - After the United States Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, local leaders reacted to the ruling.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and organizations such as Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, Progress Virginia, Birth in Color, spoke about the impacts this decision will have on women in Virginia.

“The court is taking our power to control our bodies and personal decisions and giving it to politicians,” Jamie Lockhart with Planned Parenthood said.

Abortion rights groups and leaders expressed outrage at Friday’s rally.

“This decision is not just the most serious attack on women’s rights in our lifetime. It is the most serious attack on every right that every single one of us has,” Henrico’s Commonwealth Attorneys General, Shannon Taylor, said.

Mayor Levar Stoney charged activists to turn their anger into action.

“These activist judges care more about gun access than they do care about access to reproductive rights,” Stoney said.

The Dobbs decision puts women’s right to choose in the hands of state lawmakers like Republican Senator Amanda Chase, who stands in support of the ruling.

“I think that this is correcting an incorrect ruling that the Supreme Court should have never made from the beginning. This was never the Supreme Court’s decision to be made,” Chase said.

Chase has pushed for pro-life legislation in Virginia before and is ready to do it again in the coming months.

“The decision should be made by elected representatives, not judges - not federal judges that were not elected by the people,” Chase said.

Governor Glenn Youngkin released a statement following the ruling:

“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 Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Kenda Sutton-El, co-founder of Birth in Color RVA said minority groups, like women of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and immigrants would be impacted the most by the ruling. She said Black women are three times more likely to die during childbirth than white women which put Black women more at risk.

She also argued most women of color count on abortion clinics for full reproductive health care. The ruling she said could cut funding and access to those who need it most.

“There are people right now that are saying well, ‘I’m just going to fly [to another state]’, but do people of color have that much funding? Are we set 400 years ahead of time like everybody else is? We’re not,” Sutton-El said.

Although heavy with disappointment, advocates remain hopeful.

“Abortion is still legal in Virginia and we will all fight like hell to continue to have it be so,” Mary Bauer, the director of ACLU Virginia said.

Sen. Chase admitted that she doesn’t think an abortion ban will get enough support in Virginia. All eyes will remain on state lawmakers as the General Assembly reconvenes in January.

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