Statement from REPRO Rising Virginia Executive Director on Repeal of Roe v. Wade

Statement from REPRO Rising Virginia Executive Director on Repeal of Roe v. Wade

Alexandra, VA- Tarina Keene, Executive Director of REPRO Rising Virginia – the Commonwealth’s leading reproductive rights organization – issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and Governor Youngkin’s just-released call for additional restrictions on abortion in Virginia.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision is cruel, dangerous, and devastating. The right to abortion has always been about control – who has the power to make personal decisions about our bodies, our lives, our families, and our futures. Today, six unelected justices took that power away from millions of Americans.

“I want to be clear that abortion is still legal in Virginia. But Governor Youngkin and his colleagues have already signaled they will stop at nothing to ban abortion and interfere in Virignians’ personal medical decisions. At REPRO Rising Virginia, we stand with the 77 percent of Virginia voters who believe that personal pregnancy decisions should be made by pregnant people, NOT politicians. We will not allow Governor Youngkin – or his handcrafted working group of extremist politicians – to take these rights away from us.

“REPRO Rising has been on the front lines of this battle in Virginia for 20 years. We have been preparing for this day – and we are ready to fight. Now more than ever, we must be loud in our support for Virginians who have abortions and the providers who provide critical, life-saving care every single day.”

Although Virginia will not immediately criminalize abortion after the fall of Roe v. Wade – unlike 13 states with “trigger bans” – advocates expect significant barriers to access as thousands of out-of-state patients travel to Virginia for care. Polling demonstrates that Virginians understand this sweeping impact, with half (48%) of all voters saying they will be personally impacted if the US Supreme Court decides to eliminate the right to an abortion. 40% of Virginia voters say that the overturning of Roe v. Wade will affect their loved ones.

 

As U.S. Supreme Court Prepares to Overturn Roe v. Wade, Statewide Poll Finds Virginia Voters Overwhelmingly Support Abortion Rights

As U.S. Supreme Court Prepares to Overturn Roe v. Wade, Statewide Poll Finds Virginia Voters Overwhelmingly Support Abortion Rights

RICHMOND, VA As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming days, REPRO Rising Virginia and Care in Action released new polling that finds Virginia voters overwhelmingly support abortion rights. The statewide survey – conducted by Change Research from May 27 to June 2 – finds that 77% of all Virginia voters believe decisions about pregnancy should be made by women, not politicians. 

The new poll also contains significant warnings for anti-abortion elected officials and candidates running in the Commonwealth’s upcoming Congressional elections. More than a third (37%) of independent voters say that overturning Roe v. Wade makes them more likely to vote for Democratic candidates, as opposed to 20% who are more likely to support Republicans. Electoral consequences are particularly pronounced among Latinx voters in highly-competitive Prince William County, with a majority (56%) saying they will support Democratic candidates post- Roe, and only 16% moving towards the GOP. 

“The data is clear: Virginians are outraged about the fall of Roe v. Wade and ready to take this fight to the ballot box, ” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of REPRO Rising Virginia. “We are about to witness an unprecedented backlash to anti-abortion extremists in Richmond and beyond – Governor Youngkin, legislators, and all candidates running this fall would be wise to heed this warning. REPRO Rising will not stop until every Virginian has the ability to control their own bodies, families, and futures.”

“Women of color overwhelmingly support access to abortion care and their right to reproductive freedom,” said Alexsis Rogers, Organizing Director of Care in Action. “We need to listen to this key voting bloc and prioritize issues that are important to them, especially given their organizing power to shift elections. Care in Action mobilizes domestic workers and women of color because we understand that the delivery of care and ability to receive care – including health care and child care – is essential in how this country operates. Our leaders should not only protect abortion rights, but also invest in a care economy that keeps our economy and communities moving forward.”

Three-quarters (75%) of women voters in Virginia say that Virginia lawmakers should do more to protect the right to abortion through state laws and policies. The overwhelming majority (81%) of Latinx voters in Prince William County – home to a highly-competitive race between Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger and GOP nominee Yesli Vega – agree that lawmakers should do more. Vast majorities of women (74%) and Latinx voters in Prince William County (78%) want Virginia lawmakers to amend the state constitution to protect Virginian’s right to an abortion.

“Our survey found stunning intensity of emotion on the reversal of Roe v. Wade,” said Dr. Betsy App, Ph.D., Senior Survey Data Analyst at Change Research. “A plurality of Virginia voters say they feel ‘outraged’ at having their rights stripped away – and they are increasingly vocal in demanding action from their elected officials. It’s clear that this decision will have a sweeping impact on upcoming electoral and legislative fights in the Commonwealth.” 

Although Virginia will not immediately criminalize abortion after the fall of Roe v. Wade – unlike 13 states with “trigger bans” – advocates expect significant barriers to access as thousands of out-of-state patients travel to Virginia for care. Polling demonstrates that Virginians understand this sweeping impact, with half (48%) of all voters saying they will be personally impacted if the US Supreme Court decides to eliminate the right to an abortion. 40% of Virginia voters say that the overturning of Roe v. Wade will affect their loved ones. 

For crosstabs, questions, and methodological details on this poll,
please see here

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Becomes “REPRO Rising VA”

As Abortion Fight Moves Exclusively to the States, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Becomes “REPRO Rising VA”

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA — As the fight for abortion access reaches a crisis point in states across the country, newly-independent organization REPRO Rising VA will replace NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia as the political and policy leader of the reproductive rights movement in the Commonwealth.
 
REPRO Rising VA builds on NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s 20-year track record of legislative and political success, including its work to secure the first expansion of abortion rights in the South. REPRO Rising VA will continue and expand upon NPCVA’s mission by refocusing on those most impacted by abortion restrictions, protecting reproductive rights in a divided state government – without a federal backstop – and preparing to support the thousands of individuals who will seek abortion in Virginia once Roe v. Wade is overturned.
 
“REPRO Rising VA is about meeting the moment while looking to the future,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of REPRO Rising VA. “After 20 years of fighting for abortion rights and access in a swing state, we are refocusing our mission and resources on the realities of a post-Roe world. Virginians can trust that REPRO Rising VA will be on the front lines of the battle for abortion rights and access – no matter what happens at the federal level.”
“Every person should have the ability to make their own personal medical decisions,” said Mark Warner, Senior Senator from Virginia. “As we work to protect reproductive rights in the U.S. Congress, I’m confident that REPRO Rising VA will continue to help lead the fight for reproductive freedom in Richmond and beyond.”
“I’m proud that Virginia is the only state in the south to have actually expanded abortion access since 1973,” said Jennifer McClellan, reproductive rights advocate and sponsor of SB 733, the Women’s Reproductive Health Act.  “REPRO Rising VA was a key partner in this fight – and their work is more important than ever. I look forward to continuing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with REPRO Rising VA as we work to make the Commonwealth a safe haven for abortion access.”
“I’m so grateful to REPRO Rising VA for their years of leadership and partnership in this fight,” said Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health. “In the face of unprecedented attacks on abortion access, Virginians need this organization more than ever before. I know they will continue to meet this moment, protect access, and push forward for reproductive freedom for all.”
REPRO Rising VA has a proven track record of holding elected officials accountable as well as electing reproductive rights champions to state office. After successfully passing the Women’s Reproductive Health Protection Act in 2020, the organization continues to advocate for reproductive rights policy in Richmond, organizes on college campuses, and increases access to abortion through its volunteer-based program “Practi-Cab,” which provides transportation and emotional support for abortion patients to their appointment.
 
REPRO Rising VA will officially unveil its new name at their 20th Anniversary Gala at 7pm on June 9th, which will feature Rep. Don Beyer (VA-8), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Rep. Jennifer Wexton (VA-10). REPRO Rising VA was formed after a decision by NARAL Pro-Choice America to change its relationship with its state-based affiliates, including NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.
 

Pro-Choice Virginia Executive Director Gives Statement on Leaked Dobbs v. Jackson Opinion

Pro-Choice Virginia Executive Director Gives Statement on Leaked Dobbs v. Jackson Opinion

Alexandria, VA – Pro-Choice Virginia Executive Director Tarina Keene made the following statement in response to tonight’s leaked draft opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case now before the Court that overturns the 1973 landmark decision Roe v. Wade that guaranteed the right to abortion in the United States. 

 

“While we have been anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs and preparing for the overturning of Roe, tonight’s revelation is no less stunning and heartwrenching.” 

 

“This is no longer a hypothetical. Roe will be gone, and the last thread holding our reproductive rights together in this country will be  cut. The monumental impact that this will further have on the most vulnerable and marginalized people in this country it hard to comprehend.”

 

“One thing Virginians can be assured of is that abortion is legal in our Commonwealth. In fact, we made history by passing the first pro-abortion rights bill with the passage of the Reproductive Health Protection Act and rolled back decades of restrictions on abortion care. We also lifted the ban on abortion coverage on the state’s healthcare exchange in 2021. We will continue to fight every day in the legislature and at the ballot box to ensure the right to abortion is not only protected but accessible to every person who wants or needs it whether they are Virginians or not. The Commonwealth’s borders will be open and a safe haven to all who need abortion no matter where they live.”

 

“While this leaked opinion is not the final word, it is a wake-up call. Americans must not stand silently by while our rights are taken away. Together, we will fight for a better future, where all health care, including abortion, is accessible and where everyone is free to make decisions about our futures and our families, whoever we are and wherever we live.”

 

“This is a clarion call to Virginians. We must pursue proactive protections. We must pass a constitutional amendment that will forever enshrine our right to bodily autonomy. Each of us should be able to live, work, and make decisions about our health and our future with dignity and respect. The courts will no longer protect us. We must protect ourselves and our democracy by voting our values at every opportunity.”

Pro-Choice Virginia PAC Endorses Jackie Glass in Special Election for Virginia House of Delegates District 89

Richmond, Va. – Today, Pro-Choice Virginia PAC, the political action arm of the Commonwealth’s leading reproductive rights advocacy organization, announced its endorsement of Jackie Glass for the Virginia House of Delegates to represent District 89.

“Pro-Choice Virginia PAC is thrilled to throw our support behind Jackie Glass to represent the constituents of HD 89. She is steadfast in her commitment to increasing access to reproductive healthcare and solidifying our rights, which is critical in this precarious moment for the future of Roe v. Wade. We know that she will fight to protect Virginians’ reproductive freedoms and work to expand access to abortion care in the Commonwealth,” said Pro-Choice Virginia Executive Director Tarina Keene.

Jackie is committed to creative problem solving and being an accountable leader invested in her community. She is focused on building and nurturing relationships with her community members and being a bold leader for them in Richmond.

Pro-Choice Virginia will use the full force of its grassroots organizing and mobilizing power to ensure Jackie wins on Tuesday, January 11th, and will serve as a reproductive freedom champion starting in the 2022 Legislative Session.

Announcement: We’re Rebranding to Pro-Choice Virginia

We’re smack in the middle of the last month of 2021, and time is moving a mile a minute. Before we put this year behind us, we wanted to update you on an exciting opportunity and change coming to NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia in 2022.

On January 1, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia will drop NARAL from our name and become Pro-Choice Virginia. This will be an interim name while we go through a re-branding process for a new permanent name and logo, which we’ll roll out in the spring of 2022.

This past summer, the NARAL Pro-Choice America Board of Directors voted to end their affiliation with its remaining 11 state-based organizations, including NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. As of January 1, we will be a fully independent, community-based, advocacy organization continuing to lead the charge for reproductive rights and freedom across the Commonwealth.

Our work will not change, and we will continue to fight each day until every Virginian has access to affordable reproductive healthcare in their own community and on their own terms. This change is positive, and we are excited for the future of our organization and our work.

Change is good! We may have a new look, but our mission to achieve reproductive freedom for all will continue, and we hope we can still count on you to stand alongside us.

The end of the year puts into perspective how much can change in 365 days. It also reminds us that we can’t do this important and critical work without you. So, thank you for your support. Thank you for cheering us on, and thank you for being an amazing partner. I can’t wait to see what we do next together as we start this new chapter.

-Tarina Keene, Executive Director of Pro-Choice Virginia

Virginia Passes Second Bill to Repeal Ban on Abortion Coverage on the State Healthcare Exchange

Richmond, Va.— Today, the Virginia Senate passed HB1896 repealing the ban on abortion coverage on the Commonwealth’s healthcare insurance exchange. The bill, patroned by Delegate Sally Hudson, passed on a party-line 22-17 vote in the Senate and could make Virginia the first state in the South to repeal the coverage ban.

Both HB1896 and its companion, SB1276, passed in the House on Tuesday, heads to Governor Ralph Northam’s desk. If he signs the bill into law, Virginia will make history again by eliminating the politically motivated ban that prohibited private insurance companies from offering plans on the exchange that cover abortion care.

In Virginia, abortion is the only medical procedure banned from coverage on the exchange, which prohibits consumers from using their own private dollars to purchase the coverage.

Currently, the ban disproportionately impacts people who are employed without insurance, underemployed, unemployed, or self-employed and purchase their insurance through the state exchange. The pandemic has increased the number of people seeking coverage on the exchange, further increasing reproductive healthcare disparity.

“Repealing the ban is long overdue, and I’m proud that Virginia is leading the charge. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but this is a big step in securing comprehensive reproductive care for all Virginians,” says Del. Hudson

“We are thrilled that this discriminatory and dangerous abortion coverage ban has successfully made it through both chambers of the General Assembly and is now headed to Gov. Northam’s desk where he no doubt will sign it into law,” stated Executive Director Tarina Keene.

“Delegate Hudson deserves major kudos for her victory today and those legislators who voted to put healthcare decisions back into the hands of patients and families. This ban was the ultimate government overreach and should never have been put into law, but today, the people have spoken.”

“No person ever plans on having an abortion, but when they need one, it should be safe, affordable, and accessible. Bans on abortion coverage based solely on ideology are dangerous political interference and put people’s lives and health at risk. Today’s passage of HB1896 will allow those who get their health insurance on the state exchange to have the option of purchasing this important coverage.”

With Virginia’s new pro-choice trifecta in the House, Senate, and Governor’s mansion, the Commonwealth is pushing forward a proactive policy agenda that centers Access for All, which is a campaign to ensure every Virginian has access to the reproductive healthcare they need and want. With Roe v. Wade hanging by a thread, Virginia needs to establish itself as a safe haven for safe, legal, affordable abortion care. In 2020, Virginia’s General Assembly started making progress with this agenda by passing the Reproductive Health Protection Act, which removed several harmful barriers to abortion access in the Code of Virginia.

NARAL Virginia’s 2021 Access for All agenda also includes allowing Medicaid insurees to receive 12-months of birth control at one time (SB1227), establishing a Fetal & Infant Mortality Review Team (HB1950), and creating the Imprisoned Pregnant Persons Workgroup (SB1300) to ensure equitable reproductive healthcare for incarcerated people.