A Post-Roe Virginia

On June 24, 2022 the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a case that gave women all over the U.S. access to abortion. While it is still legal in Virginia, Governor Youngkin has proposed several bills that would prevent women from getting abortions and has supported bills that would allow police to use data from menstrual apps in investigative charges.

In Virginia, abortion is legal up to the second trimester (approximately the first 26 weeks). After the second trimester, abortions are only allowed if the mother’s life is in danger and the procedure must be approved by three doctors. A bill introduced by Republican Kathy Byron and backed by Gov. Youngkin proposed that Virginia change its current abortion laws to limiting abortion availability to the first 15 weeks of the pregnancy with the only exceptions being for rape, incest, or if the woman’s life is at risk.

Young women using phone apps to track personal health. Photo provided by Virginia Walker.

Despite Gov. Youngkin and multiple Republican efforts, all proposed bills have been shut down by the Senate Education and Health Committee, a Democratic lead senate panel.

Separate from the Republicans’ bill, Democrats are trying to create an amendment to the state constitution that would provide abortion at any point in the pregnancy, while Republican members are working on the opposite, trying to kill all efforts to expand abortion access.

With a Republican majority in the Virginia House of Delegates and a Democratic majority in the Senate, it is predicted by ABC 8 News that neither party will be changing abortion regulations anytime soon.

However, abortion laws aren’t the only legislation potentially affecting women’s privacy in Virginia. In February of this year, Virginia’s Senate passed a bill that would prevent the police from accessing data from menstrual apps.
The House of Delegates, with backing from Gov. Youngkin, have put this bill aside. This would allow authorities to acquire data from menstrual apps.

Another bill allows a woman’s menstrual history to be brought forward in court against defendants. Deputy of Public Safety and Homeland Security Maggie Cleary went before the Virginia House subcommittee on February 12th defending the removal of privacy in menstrual tracking apps.

The bill for access and usage of women’s menstrual history within a court setting has already passed the Senate in Virginia and is on track to be passed and signed into law by the House.