RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years after the initial ruling, Virginians shared their sentiments on the issue, torn over what this could mean for the Commonwealth.
While some residents said they were gutted by the announcement, others, such as Tywana Hampton, shared that they were relieved.
“Of course I was excited because I am pro-life.”
Hampton said that she volunteers with faith-based nonprofit The Family Foundation of Virginia, assisting them after learning that her values aligned with that of the organization.
“They share a lot of my same views about family and the importance of family and family values. And so a member of our church actually was involved with them and kind of put me in touch with them. And then another gentleman that is a pastor also put me in tough with them and is like ‘Here are some people who share your values.'”
Meanwhile, several residents and local leaders attended an abortion rights rally at Capitol Square Friday afternoon, voicing their concern over the court’s decision.
“I kind of felt sick to my stomach,” Hannah Sellars said. “I just feel like this is the beginning of women kind of losing their rights in general, and I just don’t want that to happen.”
Sellars told 8News that she had an abortion when she was 19 years old. While she noted that it was one of the most difficult decisions she ever made, she also said that it was a necessary option to be available to others.
“I feel like a big misconception is that women are out here getting abortions willy-nilly,” Sellars said. “My life was in a really, really bad position. I was very mentally unstable, financially unstable. There was just no way I could’ve had a good life for myself or the child at the time.”
But Hampton said she had, over the years, spoken with women who found comfort in what may have initially been an unwanted pregnancy.
“I have met children who have been a product of a rape, or an incest or incest relationship and those kids are thriving and are doing well and are happy that they have the opportunity to live. Some of the mothers that I’ve heard speak on that said that it was actually comforting to them to welcome a child even though the beginnings were not good, but that child was actually therapeutic for them to see that something so beautiful can come from such a bad situation.”
That’s why Hampton told 8News she is hopeful that Virginia will help women in similar situations.
“I just hope that this will force people to get more knowledge about what it means to be pro-life. I hope that this will cause churches and other conservative organizations, people that have the family at their forefront will step up their game as far as you know, helping women that find themselves in an unwanted pregnancy or unplanned pregnancy.”
However, for individuals like Olivia Kay, religious beliefs stand in support of abortion rights.
“I believe that God created free will,” she said. “My choice to do anything is my choice to do it, and it shouldn’t affect your choice to do it.”
Both Kay and Sellars said that they would like to see Virginia retain its abortion options, and even serve as a safe haven for those who live in more restrictive states.
“I really hope Virginia just protects people’s rights to make their own choices and it doesn’t continue to overturn everything that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey se the precedents for,” Kay said. “Get out and vote because that’s the only thing we can do.”