RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Joined by Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears, activists calling for legislation to outlaw abortion took to the streets of downtown Richmond for the Virginia March For Life.
The marchers congregated at the steps of the Virginia Capitol Building Wednesday morning. Bishop Barry C. Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond spoke at the rally and delivered an opening prayer. Ava Pillard of Grace Christian School in Hanover County sang a rendition of the National Anthem.
Sears, who previously stated that she would support “heartbeat” abortion legislation which would ban the practice as soon as an embryo’s heartbeat can be detected, delivered a speech during the rally.
“We know abortion is wicked, because if I were to put in a bill today… and the bill says this: abortion is only allowed in Virginia if you are a Black woman. Think about that, only Black women in Virginia could get an abortion, no one else,” said Sears during her speech. “You know what we would say to ourselves? ‘Wait a minute, why are they trying to kill all the Black babies?’ You see, then it comes home to us that abortion is wicked.”
Along with Sears and Knestout, speakers included Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation, Olivia Gans Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, and Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and founder of Alveda King Ministries.
Youngkin did not speak at the rally, but did meet with the attendees and thanked them for being present. He also marched with them through a portion of the route –which circled Capitol Square and ended at the intersection of North 12th Street and East Main Street.
Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper), who introduced a bill which would ban abortion after 20 weeks outside of the event of rape, incest or a medical emergency, was also present at the event.
Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Susan Swecker released a statement in response to Youngkin and Sears’ presence at the march, saying “It is disturbing to see the Governor and Lt. Governor are actively attempting to overturn the will of the people and attack a woman’s rights to choose. Virginia Democrats are deeply committed to protecting Virginians’ access to health care, including reproductive health care – and will continue to ensure that the Commonwealth will not be pushed back to the restrictions of the 1950s and 60s when it comes to these rights.”