In this week’s newsletter, I highlight Virginia’s critical role as a provider of safe and legal abortion, share information on primary election voting, and provide updates on recent community meetings and engagements from this past week. Thank you for taking the time to read the newsletter and for staying informed.
Abortion Restrictions across Southern States put Spotlight on Virginia
When the US Supreme Court issued its disastrous decision last June to overturn Roe v Wade and thereby contradict its own 1973 decision that the right to privacy implied in the 14th Amendment protected abortion as a fundamental right, it spawned a series of additional disasters across the country. The ensuing muddle has resulted in a hodgepodge of various state laws that have triggered the criminalization of medical providers, OB-GYNs leaving states in which they can no longer safely care for their patients, a 10 year-old child and victim of rape forced to travel to another state to seek medical care, women nearly bleeding to death in miscarriage as doctors consult teams of lawyers, agonizing experiences such as the recently highlighted case of one family, and much more. Abortion restrictions do not stop abortions. They impose the will of politicians on private medical decisions; they cause harm; and they result in suffering and even death.
Virginia is now the last Southern state to protect the right to abortion and reproductive health care. This week, South Carolina lawmakers passed a draconian 6-week abortion ban. Many of those who celebrated this legislation do not even understand that, medically, a pregnancy is measured as beginning on the first day of a woman’s last period. That is, the count of weeks actually begins several weeks before a woman is even pregnant. By the time the average woman suspects that she may be pregnant, she may already be–in medical terms–beyond seven to eight weeks. South Carolina’s new law is, in essence, a total abortion ban.
In North Carolina, an abortion ban after 12 weeks of pregnancy goes into effect on July 1. NC Governor Roy Cooper had vetoed this legislation, but the state's Republican-led Assembly voted to override that veto. As the last state in the South to provide safe and legal access to abortion, Virginia’s clinics are already beginning to see larger numbers of patients arriving for medical care, and these numbers will only continue to increase.
Of course, these bans will most harm low-income women and their families who do not have the financial means to travel, to miss employment for several days, to pay for childcare, and to cover all of the numerous costs associated with out-of-state travel. These new laws do nothing to increase contraceptive coverage and access (some states are inexplicably targeting contraception as well), nothing to ensure that comprehensive sex education is provided to young people, nothing to expand childcare services, nothing to provide parental leave. In short, these laws are invasive and harmful on multiple levels.
Early Voting for June Primaries
Primary Day is Tuesday, June 20. However, early voting began a few weeks ago and is still ongoing. Early voting gives everyone a chance to cast their ballot at a day and time that is convenient for their schedule.
Early, In-Person Voting
Early, in-person voting in the current 10th Senatorial District is available only at the Registrar's Office for the June Primary Election. No other polling locations are open for early voting.
Voters can request an absentee ballot for the June 2023 primary by 5:00pm, Friday, June 9, 2023. All ballots must be postmarked by June 20 (Primary Election Day), or dropped off at the corresponding drop off location. Using a delivery service that allows tracking is recommended.
Final Day to Register to Vote for June Primaries
The last day to register to vote or to update existing voter information for the June Primary is this coming Tuesday, May 30. Voters can register to vote or check voter registration status at the Virginia Department of Elections.
Each year on Memorial Day, we honor and remember all those who did not come home to their loved ones and their communities. With solemnity and respect, we must remind ourselves of their sacrifices and recommit ourselves to the protection of democracy and freedom.
Highlights from Community Events & Meetings
Connecting With My Office