Community News


Originally published in the Summer 2022 edition of The Virginia Defender, issue 69, printed July 27. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Summer 2022 issue or to download the full PDF, see this post. For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.

By Ayame Rogers

Two photos from rallies protesting the overturn of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
Women and their allies take to the streets to condemn the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. At left, a march in Richmond. At right, a Great Speak Out rally June 26 at Norfolk’s Lafayette Park. Photos by Ayame Bryant, left, and Christine Hoppe, right.

On the evening of May 2, a draft opinion written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and leaked to the public suggested that the court would overturn Roe v. Wade. Alito wrote, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”

The next day, rallies erupted across the country, proclaiming “Bans off our bodies!” People were determined to ensure that the 50- year-old law legalizing a woman’s right to reproductive freedom remained upheld.

However, on June 24, the court issued its formal decision and overturned Roe v. Wade, threatening the right to self-define families and risking the bodily autonomy of anyone who has a uterus.

Thirteen states with “trigger laws” already were set to ban abortions. Going forward, about half the states are expected to impose some form of restriction.

It’s important to know that abortions are still legal in Virginia during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, through 26 weeks. Organizations like Planned Parenthood, along with abortion fund providers like the Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project and the Blue Ridge Abortion Fund, make the procedure affordable and accessible.

On Virginia’s political front, Democrats hold a slight (21-19) majority in the state senate, while Republicans control the House of Delegates (52-48), as well as the statewide offices of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. That means that if just one Democrat votes to limit or ban abortions, causing a tie, Republican Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, a staunch abortion opponent, would cast the deciding vote.

The Supreme Court’s ruling has radicalized people across Virginia to take action. Women and their allies have rallied together, determined that “We won’t go back!”

In Richmond, several events were organized by Planned Parenthood. A candlelight vigil also was held by local groups Catch the Fire and RVAFeminisim to give space for emotions and to honor those who fought for abortion rights in 1973. These events emphasized the struggle of both women and LGBTQ+ folks in the right to a safe abortion.

Several rallies have numbered close to 1,000, followed by crowds parading on Broad Street. The primary call to action has been to “Vote Blue” in the next election cycle and to contact legislators. There also have been calls to organize, while raising awareness to intersectionality in women’s rights.

These orgs deserve your support to help ensure that everyone in Virginia has the resources to make free decisions about their own reproductive lives. 

Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project:

Blue Ridge Abortion Fund:

Hampton Roads Reproduction Justice League:

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