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Youngkin, Miyares take part in anti-abortion March for Life rally

People holding a sing that reads "Virginia March for Life" walk down a street
Scott Elmquist
VPM News
Gov. Glenn Youngkin joins anti-abortion advocates for the March for Life down Broad Street in downtown Richmond Wednesday.

At least 1,000 anti-abortion advocates marched on Richmond’s Capitol Square Wednesday at the 5th annual March for Life.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Attorney General Jason Miyares and other advocates voiced support for laws restricting abortion — as well as for increasing assistance for pregnant people.

After exiting a black SUV on the capitol grounds, Youngkin stood with anti-abortion activists to hold up a sign for the annual March for Life rally. He also said Virginians elected a “pro-life” governor.

“The one thing I do know is Virginians want fewer abortions, not more abortions," Youngkin said. The governor, who walked for part of the march, said he’s frustrated with Senate Democrats for voting down a 15-week abortion ban in a subcommittee meeting last week.

“It’s extreme where they are — abortion on demand, anytime, anyhow. That is just so extreme for Virginia, and the fact that the Senate Democrats won’t even have a conversation about it is so disappointing to me,” Youngkin said.

A person wearing a tie stands in a crowd a sign held by someone to the right reads "PRAY TO END ABORTION"
Scott Elmquist
VPM News
Youngkin marches down Broad Street with anti-abortion protesters.

Virginia state law does permit abortions up to roughly 26 weeks (first and second trimesters), and there are provisions for third-trimester abortions if there’s serious health risk involved. (Practically, though, getting an abortion after 20 weeks in Virginia is a different story.)

A recent Virginia Commonwealth University poll found half of respondents wanted the state's abortion laws to remain unchanged, while one-quarter said they were too lenient.

Before the march began, Miyares told the crowd women who seek an abortion should not be prosecuted.

“That is not right. I can tell you that I believe in protecting babies and women no matter what choices they make,” he said. “I agree with the March for Life, and so many other pro-life organizations that we should not punish and prosecute women seeking abortions.”

Miyares said the focus should be on supporting charities and groups that work to support “struggling mothers.”

A person stand in the middle of cameras and microphones with a crowd behind.
Scott Elmquist
VPM News
Youngkin addresses the media outside of the state Capitol after the March for Life.

Analisa Salimbangun came from Ashburn to march — something she’s been doing since 2017, when she first marched in Washington, D.C., at another March for Life rally. She’s also participated in praying at health clinics that perform abortions.

“Educate them. And let them know that there’s a whole country supporting them, hopefully to make the right choice to protect life,” said Salimbangun.

Richmond resident Maureen Nwoye marched with her friends from St. Joseph’s Parish in Richmond and Petersburg. She said while she’d like to see a total ban on all abortions, she believes people should have a choice.

“I do believe that I cannot impose my choice,” she said. “But I also believe that because we know that it’s not just a blob — that blob eventually becomes life, you were once that blob, I was once that blob — because of that, I think that abortion should be illegal.”

Similar marches were scheduled in D.C. and a handful of other states across the country.

Ian M. Stewart is the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News.
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