Virginia lawmakers could take up abortion legislation in 2023
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The next time Virginia lawmakers could take up any potential abortion legislation is in January when the Virginia General Assembly convenes.
“The existence of abortion rights in Virginia will rest on a single vote in the state Senate,” said Larry Sabato, UVa Center for Politics.
That’s true. Republicans currently control the House. However, Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate.
“The Republicans in the house would almost certainly pass anti-abortion measures. The governor would sign if a bill got to his desk in all likelihood. The Senate probably would at least moderate whatever the House passes and maybe kill it,” said Sabato.
In Virginia, abortions are legal through the second trimester, a little over 26 weeks. And the procedure is legal in the third trimester, if it involves the life or health of the mother.
This year, a Republican-led house effort to ban abortions after 20 weeks failed to gain traction. Lawmakers eventually dropped it.
But, Sen. Joe Morrissey signaled, at the time, he would have supported it, representing a crack in the Senate’s so-called blue wall. Morrissey is not commenting on his stance today.
“Democrats have to find a way to energize their base. This will energize their base,” said Sabato.
There are other implications too, at the polls. All 100 seats in the House of Delegates, and 40 seats in the state Senate are up for election in 2023.
“This gives democrats a reason to motivate their base in a low, low turnout election, an off, off year election,” said Sabato.
NBC12 did ask the heads of both the state Republican and Democratic parties for an interview about the politics behind all this. Neither were available for comment.
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