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Claireification: Watch Virginia state government in light of general election

While Ohioans were focused on politics close to home, voters in last week’s general election were active nationwide. Virginia’s election put the state senate and general assembly on the table, and it gave observers insight on important issues across the country. 

Just like Ohio, Virginia is going through its own turmoil over abortion issues. In October, Governor Glenn Youngkin attempted to unite the state's GOP members over a 15-week abortion ban, according to NBC News. This messaging became a centerpiece of the party as the Nov. 7 election approached in the following weeks. 

Virginia, up until this point, has not had any major restrictions on abortion. It is legal in the state through the second trimester of a woman’s pregnancy, with exceptions for the woman’s health during the third trimester.

It seemed this new strategy did not play into the Republican Party of Virginia’s favor as Democrats took the legislative majorities. According to the Virginia Mercury, a 21-19 majority in the state Senate and a 51-49 majority in the House of Delegates, means the Democrats don’t have the supermajorities needed to override Youngkin’s opposition. A lot of these elected members are also new to the body, and this could mean growing pains for Virginia. 

It’s unclear how new policies will shake out in Virginia, but one thing is clear: new limits on abortion are a nonstarter with this new legislature. Virginia Democrats may now look to pass a constitutional amendment to solidify abortion into the state constitution, but similar amendments have failed in the past. The election results could mean an easier path for an amendment’s passage looking forward. 

The state will also be looking at education and weed as issues of contention. Culture wars over critical race theory, sexual content in books and accommodations for transgender students have begun creating upset in Virginia. Meanwhile, the passage of legalized weed could now be a reality. All of these issues could now see different results due to the Democrats’ control. 

When looking at the national implications of both Ohio’s passage of Issue One and these results from Virginia, it’s clear that abortion is still a hot topic for voters. Republicans have tried to underestimate the issue's power and attempted to move the conversation to the economy and other issues, but it’s clear voters still believe in abortion rights as a topic of particular importance. 

Some have predicted that future elections, including the presidential election in 2024, will not have such a focus on abortion rights. This year’s results prove that to be inaccurate. Voters have clearly shown an outcome that largely doesn’t support the GOP agenda. As a number of Republican candidates drop out of the race for president, it will be interesting to see who stays and how they will approach the topic until next year. 

Claire Schiopota is a senior studying journalism. Please note that the opinions expressed in this column do not reflect those of The Post. Want Claire to cover a certain topic or talk about her column? Email her at or tweet her @CSchiopota.

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