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Virginia Abortion Laws


Abortion is legal in Virginia through the second trimester. Thereafter, abortion is legal only if necessary to save the life of the mother.


In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which returned to the states the power to regulate, even prohibit, abortion. Abortion laws are extremely varied from one state to the next, and some states restrict the procedure to the point where it's virtually impossible to access abortion services.

The state of Virginia restricts second-trimester abortions to licensed hospitals, with third-trimester abortions legal only to save the life or medical well-being of the mother. Virginia law also requires women seeking abortions to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound of their fetus prior to the procedure.

Learn more about Virginia's abortion laws below, with links to additional articles. See FindLaw's Reproductive Rights section to learn more.

Code Section 18.2-71 to 76.2
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion
  • Failure to meet standards for legal abortion
  • Cause or administer drug or other means to woman with intent to destroy unborn child or produce abortion or miscarriage
  • Partial birth abortion: A physician shall not knowingly perform a partial birth abortion that is not necessary to save the life of a mother.
Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion
  • First trimester, no restrictions
  • Third trimester, continuation of pregnancy likely to result in death, physical or mental impairment of mother
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion
  • Class 4 felony: imprisonment 2 to 10 years and/or fine to $100,000
  • Class 3 misdemeanor: encourage or promote performance of abortion
Consent Requirements Informed, written consent of mother (if incompetent, written permission from parent or guardian must be obtained)
Additional Requirements for Patients
  • Must receive state-directed counseling and then wait 24 hours before the procedure
  • Must undergo transvaginal ultrasound prior to the procedure (and must obtain the ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to the procedure if she lives within 100 miles of the provider)
Physician Licensing Requirements
  • First trimester: advanced practice registered nurse
  • Anytime: licensed M.D.
  • Third trimester: licensed hospital, attending M.D. and two consulting M.D.s certify medical necessity
  • If necessary to save mother's life, or substantial and irremediable impairment of mental or physical health of the mother: no condition applies except licensed M.D.
Life support for the child must be on hand and used if necessary.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Virginia constitutional attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Virginia Abortion Laws: Related Resources

Get Professional Legal Help with Your Abortion Concerns

Given the controversy (and sometimes misinformation) regarding abortion, sometimes you need a professional to help you both understand and defend your rights. Find a family law attorney in Virginia today and get some peace of mind.

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