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Leaders in Bristol take up the abortion debate

Months after the reversal of Roe V. Wade, Bristol, Virginia has become a focus of the abortion debate within the Commonwealth.

Across the state line, abortion services have ended as a result of Tennessee’s trigger law, going into effect immediately after the Supreme Court ruling.

Outside Bristol City Hall.jpg
Megan Schnabel
Both anti-abortion and abortion rights protesters set up outside Bristol City Hall

On the Virginia side, a small clinic has been in operation the last few months. But there’s now a legal effort to limit the options for providing abortions in that city.

Morning Edition Host Jeff Bossert talked with Megan Schnabel, who’s been covering the story for the online journal Cardinal News.

Large crowds have turned up recent meetings of the Bristol City Council and Planning Commission, largely abortion opponents.

The argument falls under the Dillon Rule, a legal premise that local governments only have the powers that are granted to them by the state.

Some Bristol officials say the city council doesn't have the legal authority to prohibit abortion clinics. But groups like the Family Foundation contend the state gives local governments broad powers, like zoning, to regulate land use.

Schnabel said the Foundation may consult Virginia's Attorney General to seek an opinion on whether this is something it can pursue.

Jeff Bossert is Radio IQ's Morning Edition host.
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