Roe v. Wade: How striking down ruling could impact abortion laws in DMV

There's growing attention on what local state abortion laws stand, particularly in Virginia and West Virginia, after a leaked draft majority opinion from the Supreme Court indicated the court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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If the U.S. Supreme Court follows through on overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, it would immediately split the country into states with abortion access and those that outlaw it.

About half of U.S. states are already expected to ban abortion if Roe falls, according to the abortion-rights think tank Guttmacher Institute. 

West Virginia is already a battleground state when it comes to abortion. West Virginia's legislature has a law outlawing abortion which could go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

READ MORE: This is where abortion will likely be illegal if Roe v. Wade is overturned

West Virginia's Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrissey, who identifies as pro-life, tells FOX 5 that he believes the abortion question is best left up to the states.

"I want to say at the outset, I’m strongly pro-life, and I’ve advocated in briefs for the state of West Virginia to move away from that flawed Roe framework," said Morrissey. "I think the states have the ability to act in this space to protect innocent life." 

In Virginia, abortion is legal in the first and second trimesters, but in the third trimester, abortion is only legal if a pregnancy "could result in the death of the mother."

READ MORE: President Biden issues statement after leaked Supreme Court draft suggests Roe could be overturned

While Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin was elected on a pro-life platform, Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, who backs abortion rights, warned Virginia shouldn't roll back abortion laws.

"That’s why you see the polling I’ve seen in Virginia and elsewhere suggest that significantly north of 70 percent of the American public and similarly in Virginia do not want Roe v. Wade overturned," Sen. Kaine said.

Virginia Republicans currently control the House of Delegates and are one seat away from controlling the state senate.


Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares told FOX 5 that he is pro-life, but supports exceptions for rape and incest. However, he also says he opposed a restrictive Texas anti-abortion law that he called "unworkable."