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Abortion is staying legal in Virginia – but what about the rest of the South?


Since the overturning of Roe v Wade, Democrats across the country have been battling to keep abortion legal in the states. In the midterm election of November 7th, Virginia voters went to cast their ballots. In this election, all 140 legislative seats were up to be voted on. Democrats took a surprising win, and now have control of both legislative chambers. In doing so, they effectively ended Governor Youngkin’s push for a 15-week ban on abortion. This is a good thing. 

The current abortion law in Virginia states that it is legal for a licensed physician to terminate a pregnancy during the second trimester or prior for any patient, but abortion in the third trimester is illegal unless it saves the life of the mother. 

On a grander scale, in the recent years following the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v Wade, all of the southern states, except for Virginia, have either banned or heavily restricted access to abortion. But what does this mean for Virginians and civilians from states that don’t have access to abortion? Well, studies are showing that there is a large influx of southern residents who travel to Virginia to get an abortion; however,  is putting stress on Virginian medical providers and it is also affecting the funds that are already set for Virginia women who seek an abortion, meaning that the funds will not be sufficient for both out of state visitors and in-state visitors to abortion clinics.

While it’s reassuring to know that southern women who might not directly have access to abortion are able to travel to Virginia in order to get one, the costs of the trip alone can deplete one’s funds, and statistics show that the demographic of women who receive an abortion is most likely already a parent, within their first 6 weeks of pregnancy, have some sort of a college degree, and have a low-income salary. This not only debunks the whole theory that the people who seek out abortions are doing it inhumanely during the third trimester of their pregnancy, but it also provides background that most of them are educated and just live in difficult situations and can’t support having another child. 

It is also statistically proven that criminalizing abortion doesn’t decrease or stop abortions from happening, but it just keeps unsafe abortions from happening. Nearly half of all abortions that occur in the world are performed in unsafe circumstances, and deaths that are correlated to abortion are much higher in countries where abortion is not legal. Statistics from the National Library of Medicine have shown that in countries where abortion is highly restricted roughly 34 deaths occur for every 100,000 childbirths, whereas in less strict countries only 1 death occurs for every 100,000 childbirths. 

It is crucial that abortion is legal and accessible in these southern states so women don’t have to rely on other states, such as Virginia, to receive one. It is anybody’s inherent right to make decisions regarding their bodies, and by southern legislatures denying women access to abortion, these rights were completely violated. More and more women face discrimination or harassment from their families or healthcare providers when they seek an abortion because it is illegal in certain spots. 

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