After Friday’s Supreme Court decision, which effectively struck down Roe v. Wade, many across the nation have been left reeling. Many Americans have taken to the streets with demonstrations and protests. In Lynchburg, Virginia during the early hours of Saturday morning, four individuals vandalized the antiabortion Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center.
Wearing masks, the group of four smashed ten windows and spray-painted graffiti. The “[p]olice photos show the and exterior walls of the center marked with graffiti, including one message that read, “IF ABORTION AINT SAFE YOU AINT SAFE!”
The website for the center indicates that it “offers ultrasounds and pregnancy tests, but ‘never advises, provides, or refers an abortion.” Advocates for abortion rights have a name for centers like this, oftentimes associated with a religious affiliation, that do not offer the full scope of reproductive health care services – “fake clinics.” Planned Parenthood has termed their agenda as one meant “to scare, shame, or pressure you out of getting an abortion.”
Since the draft decision was leaked in May, many anti-choice centers have been targeted, and the group “Jane’s Revenge” has “claimed responsibility for a handful of the attacks.” “Jane’s Revenge” was among the graffiti “seen scrawled at the pro-life center in Virginia.” The group published a letter proclaiming “From here forward, any anti-choice group who closes their doors, and stops operating will no longer be a target. But until you do, it’s open season, and we know where your operations are.”
In response, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, said, “There is no room for this in Virginia…breaking the law is unacceptable. This is now hot we find common ground.”
Executive Director of the Blue Ridge pregnancy Center, Susan Campbell told Fox News, “Our Center is cooperating with state and local police who are actively investigating the attack on our facility, and we’ve also been in contact with the Virginia Governor’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General who have offered their support and assistance…We exist to comfort and support those involved in unplanned pregnancies, and we plan to continue to provide free pregnancy supplies, counseling, and unconditional support and love to anyone who walks through our doors, no matter what decision they make.”
According to the Virginia Department of Health, “Black women in the United States and Virginia are known to suffer the greatest burden of pregnancy associated death…In each of the 15 years of pregnancy associated deaths reported in Virginia, the mortality ratio for Black women exceeded that for White women…Black women died at 2.3 times the rate of White women.”
A Kaiser Family Foundation report indicates that in Virginia, legal abortions were obtained by a racial breakdown of 46% of Black women, 34% of white women, 10% Hispanic, and 11% “Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native.”
July last year, state Delegate Lashrecse Aird, a Black woman, sponsored HJ 537, “a resolution to recognize racism as a public health crisis in Virginia,” which made Virginia the first state “in the South to do so.” Alas, SB 456 and HB 1105, two companion bills also sponsored by Black women state representatives, which “could have led to greater outcomes for” Black mothers and babies did not make it out of committee and have been postponed for consideration until the 2023 General Assembly Session.
Presently, “Virginia residents still have access to abortions in the state, although Youngkin has already started pushing state legislators to draft a 15-week abortion ban.” Earlier this year, the state House GOP attempted to pass a 20-week abortion ban; however, their efforts were unsuccessful in the Democratic-controlled state Senate committee.
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