Ruling over pill ignites abortion debate, puts spotlight on Virginia General Assembly

In Virginia, women still have access to the drug mifepristone, even though efforts are underway to undo that.
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 12:51 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 10, 2023 at 1:05 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - In Virginia, women still have access to the drug mifepristone, even though efforts are underway to undo that.

“We’re pleased that the judge is simply putting a halt to the politics that the FDA has been playing with the chemical abortion pills,” said Victoria Cobb of The Family Foundation of Virginia.

Over the weekend, a Texas judge suspended the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the pill, which has been used safely for more than 20 years. Virginia indirectly falls under that ruling. Virginia was not part of the Texas litigation.

“This would be a chilling (ruling) and could possibly block a person’s ability to make decisions about themselves and when they are ready to start having children,” said State Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-33rd District.

The Biden administration is appealing the decision, and this will likely head to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We have been a brick wall in the Virginia Senate and continue to be, but elections have consequences,” said Boysko.

In Virginia, The Family Foundation of Virginia is celebrating the decision, while state Democrats are using the ruling to drive people to the polls this fall.

“Both houses in Virginia are competitive. They can go either way. If you have a Republican governor, which you have now, and you have Republicans in control of both the House and the Senate, you can be certain there will be additional abortion restrictions,” said Larry Sabato, UVa Center for Politics.

All 140 seats inside the Virginia General Assembly are up for election in November. Virginia is one of only a few states holding major elections this fall.

“There’s no question that the election is going to be critical to the role that the General Assembly will play in protecting human life when we get to November,” said Cobb.

A second ruling of Washington state requires the government to keep the drug available in 18 liberal jurisdictions that had sued to expand access to abortion pills. That does not include Virginia since Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares did not join the lawsuit.