Virginia Democrats win big as abortion rights take center stage

Richmond, Virginia - Virginia Democrats have won control of both chambers of the state legislature in a huge defeat for Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Virginia Democrats had a sweep as residents across the state turned out to vote on Election Day 2023.
Virginia Democrats had a sweep as residents across the state turned out to vote on Election Day 2023.  © IMAGO / MediaPunch

Democrats maintained their majority in the Virginia Senate and flipped the House of Delegates blue on Tuesday.

It was the first time the entire state legislature was on the ballot since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022 and reversed decades of federally protected abortion rights.

Youngkin had hoped to win a GOP trifecta in order to enact a 15-week abortion ban, while Democrats campaigned up and down the ballot on protecting access to reproductive health care.

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Abortion is currently legal in Virginia until around 26 weeks, and the state has become a destination for many patients from neighboring North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky, which have strict anti-abortion laws on the books.

Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said Tuesday's results meant the governor's hopes of restricting care had been dashed: "It's official: there will be absolutely no abortion ban legislation sent to Glenn Youngkin's desk for the duration of his term in office, period, as we have thwarted MAGA Republicans' attempt to take total control of our government and our bodies."

"Virginia voters said they want to keep Virginia a safe haven for abortion rights, voting rights, workers' rights, justice reform, and LGBTQ rights, and that is exactly what they will get," Locke added.

Cover photo: IMAGO / MediaPunch

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