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Tipsheet

Glenn Youngkin Calls for New Abortion Law in Virginia

AP Photo/Steve Helber

With the U.S. Supreme Court formally handing down its Dobbs v. Jackson decision on Friday, which overturns Roe v. Wade, states are free to decide their own abortion laws. Many states have had trigger laws, meaning abortion is now illegal there, as Mia highlighted earlier. Other states are grappling with this newfound freedom to restrict abortion, including Virginia.

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In one of multiple statements about the decision, the governor celebrated the Court for how it "rightfully returned power to the people and their representatives in the states." He also communicated how he"plan[s] to take every action I can to protect life."

Specifically, he called for "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" and indicated he's tasked state lawmakers, including State Sens. Siobhan Dunnavant and Steve Newman as well as Delegates Kathy Byron and 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." 

The governor is hoping to have legislation introduced when the General Assembly returns in January. 

In a statement for Townhall, Youngkin Press Secretary Macaulay Porter indicated that "Virginians elected a pro-life governor and he supports finding consensus on legislation. He has tapped Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, Senator Steve Newman, Delegate Kathy Byron and Delegate Margaret Ransone to do so and prioritize protecting life when babies begin to feel pain in the womb, including a 15-week threshold."

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Such a 15-week abortion ban out of Mississippi had been before the Court in Dobbs v. Jackson, which the Court found constitutional in addition to overturning Roe. 

Science indicates that unborn children can feel pain in the womb, now believed to be as early as about 12 weeks, even earlier than the previous point in pregnancy of 20 weeks, which is halfway through pregnancy.

Gov. Youngkin had also released a statement reinforcing that "Virginia will not stand for lawlessness or violence." It mentioned that his administration is in touch with the justices, many of whom live in the commonwealth. 

The Washington Post on Friday morning, before the Dobbs decision was handed down, also published an opinion piece from Bob Mosier, the Virginia secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, "Protecting speech and ensuring safety in Virginia after Dobbs."

In it, Mosier wrote that "Youngkin has spoken to the justices frequently. Ensuring their continued safety is a top priority for our administration."

He especially doubled down on this point towards the closing of his opinion piece. "It is imperative that protected peaceful protests don’t turn into violence or destruction after the Supreme Court’s ruling. This is for the safety of all Virginians. Let me be clear: Those who do not heed this message and perpetuate violence will be brought to justice to the fullest extent of the law," he wrote.

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Youngkin was elected last November and took office in January. He defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA), a candidate particularly obsessed with promoting and campaigning on abortion, even campaigning at an abortion facility. McAuliffe also tried to claim Youngkin was an extremist on the abortion issue, and wanted to ban abortions. 

Youngkin not only defeated McAuliffe, but exit polls show that voters who cast their ballot based on the abortion issue were more so pro-life and favored Youngkin. 

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