January 18, 2023

7th District

I was pleased to be visited in Richmond by members of the Fairfax Education Association.

  • Commentary: Taking Away a Right
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Taking Away a Right

Already the United States Supreme Court has taken away a right that existed for women for over 50 years when they overturned the earlier court decision, Roe v. Wade, that had granted women certain rights to reproductive freedom. As most people know, Roe v. Wade is the case that legalized abortion in the United States in 1973. Now that the decision on reproductive rights has been returned to the states for action, one can expect that a woman’s right to have an abortion will be debated in this session of the Virginia General Assembly.

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court made up of a majority who oppose abortion rights made a ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO) that ended the federal constitutional right to abortion in the United States. The ruling upheld Mississippi’s ban on abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy, overturning Roe v. Wade.

Current Virginia law essentially parallels the federal right to an abortion that existed before the Dobbs decision. The difference is that the Supreme Court has granted states the right to establish their own laws on abortion. Several bills have already been introduced in the General Assembly that would eliminate abortion in Virginia or severely curtail it. The debate on these bills will be intense, and advocacy groups on both sides will be working hard to pass or defeat these bills as their position may dictate.

Governor Youngkin as a candidate for governor was quoted as having assured supporters that while he had to be quiet about abortion during the campaign to get himself elected he would take care of the issue once he was in office. Now, past a year in office we understand with clarity what he had in mind. In his speech to a joint session of the House and Senate, the Governor said, “when it comes to unborn children, we can come together. We can choose life, and choose to support mothers, fathers, and families in difficult decisions. This session, I have asked the General Assembly to come together to protect life at 15 weeks, the point at which a baby can feel pain. It is clear, Virginians want fewer abortions, not more.”

The Speaker of the House was quoted in the press as saying that the issue of abortion would not be taken up this session. What is the difference between the two Republican leaders? The Governor is delivering on a promise. The Speaker realizes that if his majority in the House votes to support abortion restrictions the Republicans are likely to lose their slim House majority, and he would lose his job.

Advocates for women having control of their bodies in making reproductive decisions—including men who support these rights—must continue putting pressure on legislators and the administration to defeat measures that would limit women’s rights.

Ultimately the decision will be made by voters in casting their votes for candidates this November. 


Help Restock the Shelves of Local Food Pantries

This collaborative program is a partnership between Fairfax County Government and local nonprofits. Now in its 12th year, Stuff the Bus continues to support food assistance efforts for families and households. Donate through February 18, 2023. For schedule and donation locations, visit Stuff the Bus.

Freezin’ for a Reason Polar Dip Fundraiser February 11 at Lake Anne

Photo by Charlotte Geary

Help make the final Virginia Polar Dip the best one yet! On February 11, jump into icy Lake Anne one more time as we say goodbye to the Virginia Polar Dip and celebrate everything this event and our dedicated VA Polar Dippers have accomplished over the past 15 years. Learn more.

Reston Community Center Summer Camp Guide Now Available

View the guide.


Follow the General Assembly Session

The 2023 General Assembly session is underway. You can follow the legislative action at Legiscan.com/VA and watch the session live streams of both houses of the legislature: House video stream Senate video stream.


Saturday, January 21, 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., Hobby Exchange, at Herndon Community Center Did you take up a hobby that didn’t stick? Are you ready to try something new? To get you thinking, consider those pandemic raves: bread making, knitting, jigsaw puzzles, arts and crafts, roller blading, books, board games, to name just a few! Drop off your unwanted items and receive a ticket to come back and “shop” first. More information is at Hobby Exchange.

Saturday, January 28, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Reston Summer Camp Expo, at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. Don’t miss your chance to learn about Reston-area summer camps and out-of-school activities–all in one place! Bring the whole family for a fun and informative morning that will feature snacks, music, games, prizes and camp resources. Contact: LaTanja Snelling, RCC Collaboration and Outreach Director, at 703-390-6158 or Latanja.Snelling@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Sunday, February 5, 2:00 to 4:30 p.m., Puzzle-Palooza, at Herndon Community Center. Do you love jigsaw puzzles? Are you looking for some screen-free fun with friends and family this winter? Gather your team of up to 4 people to show off your skills at Puzzle Palooza! Teams will race against each other to complete a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle while competing for prizes. Light snacks will be served, plus you keep the puzzle. More is at Puzzle-Palooza.

Wednesday, February 8, 7:00 p.m., Reston Activism, at RCC Lake Anne's Jo Ann Rose Gallery. Reston’s residents from the 1960s to today have advocated for the needs of their community. Restonians have fought for racial equality, accessibility and housing, among other causes. Join a discussion of the success stories including the history behind the establishment of Cornerstones, Reston Community Center, Black Focus and more. Learn more at Reston Activism.

Saturday, February 11, 2:00 p.m., Freezin’ for a Reason Polar Dip, at Lake Anne in Reston. All funds raised in 2023 will help send families from the Mid-Atlantic area to Camp Sunshine. Learn more.

Tuesday, February 14, 10:00 a.m., Gun Violence Awareness Vigil at National Rifle Association headquarters, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax. The vigil commemorates the anniversary of the day 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Please DO NOT park in the NRA's parking lot. There is plenty of free parking in the office building lot on Fairfax Ridge Drive across Waples Mill Road. Signs and flags will be provided. Some protesters will drive past the NRA with signs taped to their car windows or doors; others will stand on the sidewalk. 

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