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Sen. Joe Morrissey lashes out at his radio producer when pushed on abortion position

Sen. Joe Morrissey speaking on the radio
Sen. Joe Morrissey in studio with a producer for his live radio program "The Fighting Joe Morrissey Show." (Photo: Whittney Evans / VPM News)

Last week on Democratic Sen. Joe Morrissey’s talk radio show, The Fighting Joe Morrissey Show, Morrissey sparred with a new producer on the program who pushed him to take a position on abortion. 

The discussion was in response to a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and ending the constitutional right to an abortion.  

The producer asked Morrissey during the live radio show whether he is for or against the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. 

“Any state bill that’s passed, you have to have exceptions. I’m also very much of a libertarian, and I do not like government telling us what to do,” Morrissey said. “I’m much more in favor of a strong state government, as I think are most people.”

“So in a roundabout way of saying, you’re for overturning Roe v. Wade?” the producer asks.  

The question, suggesting Morrissey didn’t clearly state his position on the issue, caused Morrissey to get agitated. 

“Don’t ever tell me what a roundabout way I’m doing. Do you understand that?” Morrissey shouts before going to commercial break.

Video edited on Kapwing

This is a copy of the deleted Facebook live video of "The Fighting Joe Morrissey Show" episode from May 4 when the senator verbally sparred with a producer over his stance on abortion.

Once off the air, a now-deleted Facebook live video shows the heated verbal altercation continue inside the studio. At one point, a woman in the studio tries to restrain Morrissey. 

The senator is a controversial figure in Virginia, having been disbarred and  arrested multiple times, including after being accused of having sex with his teenage secretary, whom he later married. 

Morrissey, who was raised Catholic, has faced criticism for opposing Democrat-sponsored abortion bills in the past. That makes him a potential swing vote in the state Senate, where Democrats currently have a narrow majority. If he sides with Republicans on the issue, who have control of the House of Delegates, state lawmakers will likely have enough votes to pass new laws limiting or eliminating abortion access in the state.

Should the state pass new abortion restrictions, Neal Devins, a law professor at the College of William &Mary, says there are limited legal options for individuals and groups to challenge the laws in court. 

“The Virginia Supreme Court tends to interpret the Virginia Constitution in lockstep with the federal Constitution, and it’s unlikely the Virginia Supreme Court would find a path to recognize a state constitutional right to abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court says there’s no federal Constitutional right.”

Morrissey has said previously that he would consider narrowing the window for abortions from 27 weeks to 20 weeks. Virginia currently doesn’t allow abortions during the third trimester. Gov. Glenn Youngkin has also expressed support for banning abortion after 20 weeks.

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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