Virginia: Abortion rights and law

Miyares plans to remove the state from the hot debate and believes the court system should leave the decision up to individual states.

RICHMOND, Va. — A new administration in place means shifts in policy and one effect is Virginia will no longer be defending a woman’s right to abortion according to a change made by the new attorney general on Friday.

In the words of Virginia’s new Republican Attorney General Jason S. Miyares, the historic Roe v. Wade decision should be overturned and Mississippi’s abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy should not be considered unconstitutional.

Virginia plans to remove itself from the hot debate and believes the court system should leave the decision up to individual states.

“Following the change in Administration on January 15, 2022, the Attorney General has reconsidered Virginia’s position in this case. The purpose of this letter is to notify the Court that Virginia no longer adheres to the arguments contained in its previously filed brief…” Miyares wrote in a letter to the courts.

Click here to read the full letter

Virginia had previously joined 22 other states, including D.C., to argue that Mississippi’s abortion ban was unconstitutional, but now the state believes “the Constitution is silent on the question of abortion” and other areas of the law have become political, thus leading them to remove themselves from the issue.

State-by-state battles over the future of abortion are setting up around the U.S. Republican lawmakers are proposing new restrictions based on laws in Texas and Mississippi and some Democratic-led states are working to preserve access. The activity in state legislatures was anticipated after the U.S. Supreme Court signaled it was ready to make seismic changes to the nationwide right to abortion established in the Roe v. Wade decision. 

If the court overturns Roe v. Wade entirely, the decision on whether to keep abortion legal would fall to the states. More than 20 states already have laws on the books that would quickly ban or dramatically restrict abortion. 

Meanwhile, 15 states have moved to protect abortion access.

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