© 2023
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

House Democrats try unsuccessfully to change rules to force abortion rights vote

Charniele Herring
Steve Helber
Virginia Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, gestures during debate on an abortion bill during a House session last year.

Democrats are trying to use a change to the rules of the House as a way to spotlight abortion protections.

House Democrats don't have the votes to change the rules. But that's not stopping them from forcing a vote on changing the rules to get a vote on a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights.

Delegate Charniele Herring is a Democrat from Alexandria who is chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus.

"I have seen us pass [a] transvaginal ultrasound bill," Herring says. "I have seen us pass laws that are not evidence based when it comes to abortion, and I've also seen basically smoke and mirrors where our governor while campaigning said, ‘I'm not going to talk about it. I'll do something when I get into office.’"

Governor Glenn Youngkin wants a 15-week ban, although that effort is being blocked by a Senate controlled by Democrats. Delegate Bobby Orrock is a Republican from Caroline County who says changing the rules for election-year politics is a bad idea.

"We will have established a new custom and practice that any time you want something brought to the floor for a vote, you don't even have to have a majority," Orrock says. "You can just do it by, ‘Well, I’m going to put in a rules change to force that issue, and that's what we’re going to run on in November.’"

The effort to change the rules and take a vote on abortion was unsuccessful.

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.