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Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some common questions about NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and our work. If you do not find the answer you need here, please contact us.
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is the political and policy leader of the pro-choice movement in Virginia. We work on the state level to develop and sustain a constituency that uses the political process in Virginia to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.
We are made up of three entities: the main NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia (a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization), the NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Foundation (a 501(c)(3) research and education organization), and the NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Political Action Committee (or PAC).
We work to educate Virginians and policymakers about the broad range of issues encompassing reproductive choice and lobby our legislature to pass pro-choice policies and defeat anti-choice laws. We mobilize pro-choice Virginians to contact state lawmakers to make their voices heard on important reproductive rights and health issues and pending legislation. We provide Virginians with information on policymakers' voting records on reproductive rights issues and encourage them to vote pro-choice in state elections to elect candidates that share our values.
Find out more about issues we work on in our "What is Choice?" section, and learn about how you can get involved.
Reproductive freedom is far from secure throughout the United States and particularly here in Virginia. While the constitutional rights to birth control and abortion have been protected by Supreme Court rulings, anti-choice politicians are always looking for new ways to increase government interference in women's reproductive choices and further restrict access to abortion and other reproductive health care. And make no mistake -- anti-choice groups are pushing their agenda in the courts as well and have been pursuing a long-term strategy to try and overturn the precedents of cases like Roe v. Wade and Griswold v. Connecticut (the case that assured the right to use contraception).
While abortion is legal, anti-choice politicians work to interfere with women's decisions and put up practical barriers that make it unnecessarily difficult and expensive – and sometimes virtually impossible – for women to access legal abortion in reality. They pass laws that unnecessarily interfere in the doctor-patient relationship and are there primarily to shame and inconvenience women, such as mandatory ultrasound & waiting period laws or requirements for biased state-created counseling scripts. They pass unnecessary targeted regulations on abortion providers in an attempt to make it too difficult for them to stay open. They further restrict access to abortion and family planning services for people who get their health insurance coverage through the government.
State legislatures across the country have enacted over 350 such anti-choice laws since 1995 alone, and Virginia is no exception. In recent decades, access to legal abortion care has steadily declined in Virginia and across the US. This especially affects low-income women, women in rural areas, women of color, and young women.
State laws and policies have a huge impact on the practical ability of women to access reproductive health care, and different laws create significant differences in the reality of a woman's rights from state to state and among women in the same state with different resources. Virginia currently receives a failing "F" grade in NARAL Pro-Choice America's rating of state's choice-related laws.
Meanwhile, most anti-choice groups and politicians actively oppose policies that would reduce unintended pregnancies and give women more control over their reproductive lives, such as effective comprehensive sex education, increased funding for family planning services, or expanding access to emergency contraception. They also frequently oppose policies that would better support women who choose to become parents, such as paid family leave, nutritional and medical support, child care assistance, or pay equity. It's hypocritical and appalling.
Reproductive freedom and self-determination are fragile liberties that we must protect and expand, both for today's Virginians and future generations. Without meaningful access to safe, legal abortion, birth control, sex education and quality reproductive health care, "choice" is a right in name only.
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is only as strong as its thousands of members, volunteers and activists throughout the state. Visit our Get Involved section, or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about our activism and volunteer opportunities. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or our blog for the latest news and action opportunities. You can also become a member and make a financial investment in our work.
Being a member of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia means you want to be a part of moving Virginia forward, not backward, on reproductive choice. It means you value a woman’s right to make personal decisions about her family and her reproductive choices without government interference. It means you believe in giving Virginia’s young people comprehensive, medically accurate sex education. It means you care about ensuring that all women have access to birth control and other family-planning and reproductive health services.
Supporting NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is making an investment in reproductive freedom in our state. Your contribution supports our efforts to educate Virginians on reproductive health issues, advocate for policies that protect choice and improve reproductive health, and hold legislators accountable for their votes on those issues. It also enables us to educate and mobilize pro-choice voters to elect officials who will represent our values and stand up for privacy, freedom, and equality. With your help, we will continue to be a strong voice on your behalf with policymakers in Richmond and across the Commonwealth.
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is one of the state affiliate organizations of NARAL Pro-Choice America, a national organization. We are a separate entity with our own distinct board of directors, staff, finances, and membership structure. With reproductive rights under attack at both the federal and state levels, we work together closely with our national organization and our fellow state affiliates to advance pro-choice policies and combat anti-choice attacks at all levels of government.
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia works on issues regarding Virginia's state laws and government, including the Virginia General Assembly and the executive branch (the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General's offices and state-level agencies).
Meanwhile, NARAL Pro-Choice America works predominantly on federal-level issues involving the United States Congress, the executive branch (including the President and federal agencies), and the Supreme Court and federal judicial system. NARAL Pro-Choice America also coordinates its network of state affiliates and helps us work together to support reproductive choice and freedom nationwide.
You may receive correspondence and information from both NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and the national organization. Donations to the state and national organizations are separate, and membership is also tracked separately. Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions.
The "NARAL" in NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is no longer an acronym, but a reflection of our organization's history and a unique identifier for our organization. When the national NARAL organization was founded in the years prior to Roe v. Wade, the letters stood for "National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws." Later, it was changed to "National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League."
In 2003, however, our national organization chose to change its full name to simply "NARAL Pro-Choice America." This simpler name reflects our mission to work on the full range of issues that encompass what it means to be pro-choice, while maintaining the NARAL history. Accordingly, our state affiliate's full legal name is NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia (or the NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Foundation). In press reports and other public mentions, we ask that the organization be referred to by this correct name.
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is a non-partisan organization. Our commitment is to work with and support strongly pro-choice lawmakers and candidates regardless of their political party, and to encourage voters of all political affiliations to prioritize reproductive freedom issues when they vote.
On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court voted 7-2 to strike down a Texas law prohibiting abortion, citing that it violated a woman’s right to privacy. This landmark decision is known as Roe v. Wade.
The Ruling Found: