UPDATE 1/20: Virginia House representatives passed H.R. 268 on Wednesday, at a 57:36 majority. In a statement to The Huffington Post, Democratic House Caucus Chair Charniele Herring said that, now more than ever, women and men need to prepare to “fight for the protections of Roe.”
“Given our national framework with President-elect Trump about to be sworn in in a few hours, we’re going to essentially be looking to the state. This resolution tells women and men in Virginia that Roe is at risk here, that it may not be protected,” she said Friday.
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court voted to protect a woman’s right to an abortion in the landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade. Now, in Virginia, anti-abortion delegates are attempting to commemorate that day as the “Day of Tears.”
H.R. 268, a resolution introduced by Republican Delegate Ben Cline, would designate every January 22 as the “Day of Tears” and also recommend all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff to honor the supposed “58 million unborn children” who “have perished.”
Here’s the bill in its entirety:
WHEREAS, on January 22, 1973, the majority of the members of the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was a right secured by the Constitution; and
WHEREAS, since that fateful day, over 58 million unborn children have perished; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, That January 22 hereby be recognized as the Day of Tears in Virginia and that the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia be encouraged to lower their flags to half-staff to mourn the innocents who have lost their lives to abortion.
Tarina Keene, Executive Director at NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, told The Huffington Post that H.R 268 is merely a tactic to shame women for accessing, or wanting to access, their constitutionally protected right to a safe abortion. (Abortion is legal in the state of Virginia into the third trimester for women whose lives are endangered by the pregnancy.)
“This is a cynical attempt to shame a woman who has made a carefully considered decision to terminate a pregnancy,” she said, “and [Cline] should be ashamed of himself.”
The resolution will be voted on as early as this Thursday, Keene said, and NARAL’s Virginia branch has provided a template for Virginia constituents to write or call their local delegates and urge them to vote “No” on the bill.