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City Council to adopt resolution to protect abortion access in Alexandria

Supreme Court (file photo)

The Alexandria City Council will vote on a resolution Tuesday night to protect access to abortions in the city.

The resolution, which was initially drafted by Councilman Kirk McPike, lays out several steps that the city will take.

“We call upon the General Assembly of Virginia and the United States Congress to take such actions as may be necessary to protect the right to abortion in Virginia,” the resolutions states. “We ask that the City Manager consider budgetary proposals for the FY 2024 budget to ensure accessibility of reproductive health services, safe abortion services, accessible maternal and child health services for low-income Alexandria residents.”

The resolution also calls on the City Attorney to join on-going or future lawsuits “to protect the availability of abortion services in Alexandria,” as well as land use protections for providers.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wadebanning abortion in 14 states and setting the stage for future legal challenges countrywide. Here in Virginia, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that he wants to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The Alexandria Democratic Committee praised the resolution.

“The Alexandria Democratic Committee stands in solidarity with City Council as they present their resolution in response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade,” ADC said on Facebook. “Our public support of bold statements like these is crucial.”

Many of Alexandria’s elected officials expressed shock and dismay at the ruling.

Del. Charniele Herring, the Democratic Caucus Chair, tweeted that she was horrified and that she would continue to fight to keep abortion legal in Virginia.

The full resolution is below the jump.

WHEREAS, in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson the United States Supreme Court abandoned longstanding precedents and overturned Roe v. Wade as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey; and

WHEREAS, there is no decision more important for a woman than whether and when to have children; and

WHEREAS, for more than 50 years the right of women to reproductive choice has been recognized and protected at the Federal level; and

WHEREAS, abortion is an essential reproductive health service and its availability is an important part of ensuring every American’s right to safe and accessible health care; and

WHEREAS, that right to a safe abortion has proven essential to the ability of women across this nation to protect their health, their lives, and the financial stability of their families; and

WHEREAS, that right to reproductive choice also impacts the liberty, health and financial security of transgender men and non-binary Americans; and

WHEREAS, it is not possible to ban abortion, but only to ban safe and legal abortions, as evidenced by the many people harmed or killed by illicit procedures in the years before Roe v. Wade; and

WHEREAS, limiting access to safe abortion has been shown to increase incidents of domestic abuse, and laws criminalizing abortion can have profoundly negative impacts on women who suffer miscarriages; and

WHEREAS, the negative impacts of limiting access to safe abortion disproportionately affect low-income women, women of color, transgender and non-binary Americans, and survivors of child abuse, sexual assault or domestic violence; and

WHEREAS, Roe v. Wade and its progeny were foundational decisions codifying the right to privacy, and their repeal places in jeopardy many other essential rights and freedoms enjoyed by the American people; and

WHEREAS, women’s reproductive rights are human rights and the majority of the American people support the right of women to make these personal decisions without the intervention of their government; and

WHEREAS, despite the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson the right to a safe abortion remains protected by the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia as they currently stand, though that right has been and will continue to be under legislative attack in the General Assembly of Virginia; and

WHEREAS, the City of Alexandria has in recent years taken positions in favor of a woman’s right to choose in our legislative package, and has repeatedly opposed bills in the General Assembly of Virginia that would restrict access to safe abortion; and

WHEREAS, the City of Alexandria has a vested interest in protecting and promoting the health and the rights of its residents, including the right of women to reproductive choice and the right of all Alexandrians to privacy;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, THAT:

  1. We reaffirm our opposition to the imposition of restrictions on reproductive choice by the governments of the Commonwealth or the United States, and stand in solidarity with women in states where abortion has become or soon will become illegal;
  2. We call upon the General Assembly of Virginia and the United States Congress to take such actions as may be necessary to protect the right to abortion in Virginia;
  3. We ask the City Attorney to actively seek participation, as a plaintiff or amicus curiae, in on-going or future litigation to protect the availability of abortion services in Alexandria;
  4. We ask that the City Manager work with the Director of Planning & Zoning, in consultation with the City Attorney, to review existing land-use regulations regarding the operation of a clinic providing abortion services, and bring forward for consideration Zoning Text Amendments to ensure unfettered administrative approval in any commercial or mixed-use zone; and
  5. We ask that the City Manager consider budgetary proposals for the FY 2024 budget to ensure accessibility of reproductive health services, safe abortion services, accessible maternal and child health services for low-income Alexandria residents.

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