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Virginia abortion-rights opponents march for the first time post-Roe

Virginia Anti Abortion Protest
Mike Caudill
FR171763 AP
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin marches with attendees at a "March for Life" event on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Mike Caudill)

Thousands of people standing in opposition to abortion rights gathered at the Capitol Wednesday.

Abortion-rights opponents gather every year here at Capitol Square, but this year’s different. The Supreme Court has taken away the constitutionally protected right to the procedure and now advocates are hopeful they can erode abortion rights in Virginia.

"It is not a woman's body," said Hank Graeser from Bon Air. "It is, indeed, the child inside her is a different body. It has a different DNA than hers. The science says this is a different person. It is not her body to decide for another body."

Colette Moran came here from Alexandria to attend the rally with a group known as Feminists for Life.

"All these things that were supposedly going to be solved by women having the right to an abortion: women in poverty, women who are facing discrimination in the workplace or on our campuses, child abuse, all of those things; none of that was solved, and that's because we need a holistic approach to those problems, not just eliminating the child," Moran said. "We should be eliminating all the crisis that women face when they are pregnant or parenting."

Senate Democrats have already demonstrated that they will not accept any rollback to abortion rights in Virginia, so lawmakers are likely to end the session without making any policy changes. But the issue is certain to be a topic on the campaign trail later this year when all 140 members of the General Assembly will be on the ballot.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.