NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A protest was held Tuesday evening outside the federal courthouse on Granby Street in Norfolk after the leak of a Supreme Court draft decision that indicates a majority of justices support overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that protects a woman’s right to abortion.
Members of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia held the rally at 5 p.m. on the green across from the courthouse at 600 Granby Street.
Norfolk Councilwoman and state Senate candidate Andria McClellan and Norfolk Delegate Jackie Glass were among those in attendance.
Democrats from the local to the national level have spoken out against a potential overturning of Roe, including state Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas.
“My number one priority is maintaining a woman’s right to choose. In Virginia, that means preserving our pro-choice majority in the Virginia Senate. Period. There is nothing else we can do that would have anywhere near the impact of keeping the Senate.,” Lucas tweeted Tuesday.
Lucas and other members of the Democratically-controlled state Senate voted earlier this year to reject GOP bills to restrict abortion access, including a bill that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks unless the mother faces a risk of death or serious damage to a major bodily function.
Virginia currently allows abortions during the second trimester (14 to 26 weeks) and after the second trimester only in circumstances in which three doctors determine “the continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the woman or substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman.”
Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has said he supports new restrictions based on fetal pain (language that coincides with bans in other states at 20 weeks of pregnancy), spoke with reporters on Tuesday and focused more on condemning the leak than discussing his future plans, WRIC reported. However, he said he does hope the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and said “states should be able to take on this responsibility.”
“And when we see a final decision of the Supreme Court, then we’ll be in a position to understand what we’ll be able to do going forward,” he said.
Youngkin has said he supports exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when the woman’s life is in jeopardy.
If Roe v. Wade is indeed overturned, abortion will certainly be a central issue in Virginia’s next legislative elections in 2023.