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Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Friday praised the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and laid out his plan for abortions in the commonwealth to be banned after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The governor told The Washington Post that he would like a 15-week ban on abortions, but conceded that a compromise of 20 weeks would likely have to happen given Virginia’s divided Congress.
“Virginians do want fewer abortions as opposed to more abortions,” Youngkin said Friday morning shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling was announced. “I am not someone who is going to jump in and try to push us apart … There is a place we can come together.”
Youngkin said he supports exceptions in cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is at risk.
In a statement, the governor said that he had asked Sens. Siobhan Dunnavant and Steve Newman, and Delegates Kathy Byron and Margaret Ransone to “find areas where we can agree and chart the most successful path forward.”
“I’ve asked them to do the important work needed and be prepared to introduce legislation when the General Assembly returns in January,” Youngkin wrote in the statement.
Abortions are currently legal in Virginia during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, and in the third trimester if “the continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the woman or substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman” based on the medical opinions of three physicians, Virginia law states.
Minors seeking an abortion must receive parental consent to terminate a pregnancy.
When asked about suggestions that conservatives might feel Youngkin’s idea for an abortion ban is not restrictive enough, the governor said Republicans and Democrats would have to work together on any legislation related to the procedure.
“We’ve got a process in Virginia to work through,” Youngkin said. “I am a pro-life governor, I also am very, very aware of Virginia. … A governor can’t do it on his own. And it’s going to require … work across the aisle. And so we’ve got to work over the next few months to find a place that we can land.”
In Virginia, the House of Delegates is controlled by Republicans and the Senate is controlled by Democrats, and any legislation that comes before the General Assembly would have to pass both chambers.
Republicans in the commonwealth said Youngkin’s proposal is not restrictive enough when addressing the governor’s remarks.
“I don’t think it goes quite far enough,” Del. Wren Williams said, according to The Post. “I’d like to see a full ban in the commonwealth … But if he can get that bill through, I’ll completely support him. We have to continue to push incrementally.”
And Democrats indicated that they would not support the governor’s ban on abortions.
“It is DOA — dead on arrival … I will not allow Virginia to be turned back,” Virginia state Senate President pro tempore L. Louise Lucas told WAVY-TV.