Commentary

Reject anti-abortion legislation in the General Assembly

February 2, 2022 12:03 am

The Virginia State Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

By Ashleigh Crocker

Earlier this month we celebrated the 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision.

This landmark decision paved the way for people all across the country to access abortion and decide whether and when to become a parent for themselves. From the moment the decision came down, conservatives worked to chip away at it as best they could until in some places, people have access to abortion in name only. And now, the newly conservative Supreme Court of the United States has signaled that it could reverse the precedent when it makes a decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization this June.

Here in Virginia, we’re at the beginning of a new legislative session, and conservatives have already filed numerous bills that would limit access to abortion. With a new governor who has said he would “go on offense” to limit abortion access and a Republican-controlled House of Delegates, it seems like it could be a matter of time before Virginia and much of the rest of the country go back to a place where only the most privileged among us have access to abortion.

But since it’s inception, Roe v. Wade has been the floor for abortion access, not the ceiling. Abortion shouldn’t just be legal, it should be accessible, affordable and unstigmatized. Anyone who is pregnant and doesn’t want to be should be able to get an abortion without having to worry about how much it costs, enduring medically-unnecessary procedures because politicians say so, being forced to listen to biased information designed to stigmatize abortion-seekers, and having to wait a certain period of time before being able to access the services they need.

Even with the potential end of Roe upon us, we don’t have to settle for a reality where people are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, forever perpetuating a cycle of poverty and inequality.

We all want to live in a community where all of us have the resources we need to thrive. A significant part of making that a reality is being able to choose for ourselves, without interference from grandstanding politicians, whether and when to become a parent. As we celebrate the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, we hope that politicians in Richmond will reject all of the anti-abortion bills before them.

Ashleigh Crocker is deputy director of Progress Virginia.

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