Galina Varchena


In 2016, the Supreme Court clarified the scenarios in which an “undue burden” is imposed on a pregnant person seeking an abortion in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. As a result, the constitutionality of many of Virginia’s abortion regulations seems in doubt. These unconstitutional regulations include the TRAP regulation that limits the type of facilities that can provide abortions, and statutes relating to informed consent and mandatory waiting periods. Thus, the outlook following the Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health looked, if not bright, then at least hopeful for reproductive rights. That changed, though, with the Court’s 2018 ruling in National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra and the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Both the Court’s seeming reversal of some of the progress made in Whole Woman’s Health in Becerra and Justice Kennedy’s retirement have darkened the outlook for reproductive rights going forward. Therefore, it is now necessary more than ever for Virginia to pass the Whole Woman’s Health Act to protect Virginians access to affordable and safe abortion services. The Whole Woman’s Health Act, that has been twice proposed and twice dismissed with little debate, would strike the statutes that Whole Woman’s Health suggested were unconstitutional from the Virginia Code. Thus, ensuring safe and equal access to abortion services for all those who are need of these critical health care services.