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Herring says he’s fighting for abortion rights as Election Day approaches

Man shaking hands with crowd
Attorney General of Virginia Mark Herring shakes hands with people in the crowd during a campaign event for Virginia democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at Lubber Run Park, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

With Election Day approaching, Attorney General Mark Herring is highlighting his efforts to defend abortion rights. 

Last week, he filed a brief in support of the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit against Texas over the state’s new abortion restrictions. The law, which went into effect earlier this month, bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, well before many people know they’re pregnant. The brief, filed by a coalition of 24 attorneys general, supports the DOJ’s motion to stop its enforcement while a federal court in Texas decides the case in a hearing set for Oct. 1. 

“Texas’s abortion ban is a clear warning of what is at stake here in Virginia if any of the Republicans on the ballot are elected,” Herring said during a press conference Wednesday.  

He criticized Texas lawmakers for delegating the enforcement of the new law to private individuals,  who are encouraged to sue anyone who performs or helps someone obtain an abortion. 

“This law was explicitly written to try and circumvent any kind of judicial review, but my colleagues and I will not let that happen. S.B. 8 will see its day in court,” Herring said. 

Herring, who has served as attorney general for eight years, is also backing a challenge to South Carolina’s abortion law signed earlier this year. 

Herring’s opponent, Del. Jason Miyares, has voted in step with his Republican colleagues on abortion issues. He’s a former prosecutor who has served in the House of Delegates since 2016.

Miyares voted against a bill the governor signed into law last year that allows health insurance providers in Virginia’s health exhange to cover abortion services.

He also opposed a bill passed in 2020 that expanded abortion access in the state.  The legislation rolled back GOP restrictions on abortion, including onerus building requirements for providers, limiting rules about who can perform an abortion and a mandatory waiting period for patients.  

Miyaras did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.


Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.