Virginia Republicans are being dishonest about plans to ban abortion next year
A Republican majority in the state legislature could pass an abortion ban, but Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s PAC says Democrats are ‘fearmongering’ on the issue.
Democrats in Virginia are warning voters that their reproductive rights are at risk, but Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s PAC claims those warnings are a lie. The governor has previously said that Republicans in the state Legislature should pass an abortion ban if they win majorities in both houses during the legislative elections this November.
According to the Associated Press, Youngkin’s political action committee, Spirit of Virginia, said in a statement on Sept. 26, “With no vision to offer the Commonwealth in this election and nothing to inspire Virginians to vote for their extreme candidates, Virginia Democrats are reverting to their tired tactics of overt falsehoods and flagrant fearmongering.”
A committee spokesperson did not immediately respond to an American Independent Foundation request for comment for this story.
All 100 seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates and all 40 Senate seats will be decided in this year’s elections, which end on Nov. 7. Democrats currently hold a narrow majority in the Senate and Republicans a small majority in the House. Spirit of Virginia PAC has spent more than $7 million in the hope of winning Republican majorities in both chambers.
Youngkin supports a 15-week abortion ban. “I think we can come together around a 15-week bill, and that’s what I have been very clear about. I think we should continue to work on that,” he said in May.
Republicans running for seats in the General Assembly have said they would go even further.
The Washington Post reported in August that, in surreptitiously recorded audio, Republican 21st House of Delegates District nominee John Stirrup said in May: “I would support a 100% ban. It seems like kind of the acceptable position has been about 15 weeks, but that really doesn’t save that many lives. It’s a start.”
Youngkin himself told abortion rights opponents in June 2022, “Any bill that comes to my desk I will sign happily and gleefully in order to protect life.”
Jamie Lockhart, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, told the American Independent Foundation:
It’s rich for anti-abortion extremists who celebrated the overturn of Roe v. Wade to accuse pro-reproductive rights candidates of fear-mongering. We know that these Republican candidates will stop at nothing to ban abortion in Virginia. We have caught them, time and time again, saying so. There is no such thing as a reasonable abortion ban. As we have seen across the country since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, anti-abortion politicians will do all they can to pass more and more extreme restrictions on abortion, taking away this incredibly personal decision from patients and their medical providers. Abortion is on the ballot. If Republicans gain complete power, they will waste no time in passing restrictions that will put government and politicians in the middle of these personal health care decisions.
Tara Durant, the Republican nominee in the competitive 27th Senate District, is a staunch opponent of abortion rights. The anti-abortion rights group Students for Life Action, which backs legislation to grant full legal protections to embryos from the moment of conception, endorsed her in June, saying she had “pledged to vote 100% pro-life.”
Durant’s Democratic opponent Joel Griffin favors reproductive rights and released an ad on Tuesday highlighting their differing positions. “My opponent, @TaraDurantVA, supports letting Virginia ban abortions and voted for a bill that would put doctors in jail for performing abortions. Tara is not your typical Republican. She is too extreme for Virginia,” he tweeted.
Durant’s campaign said in a statement to the AP that the spot “smears Tara Durant — a mother of two young women — as wanting to force a 10-year-old victim of rape to carry a child.”
Her campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democratic Sen. Monty Mason, who is seeking reelection in the competitive 24th Senate District, released an ad on Wednesday highlighting Republican nominee Danny Diggs’ support for Youngkin’s proposed ban.
Some Republicans have been trying to hide their support for an abortion ban, making no mention of the issue on their campaign websites. Republican Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, locked in a close reelection race in the 16th Senate District against Democratic state Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg, claimed in an August video message that a 15-week abortion ban with a few exceptions was “not a ban, but legislation that reflects compassionate common sense.”
A University of Mary Washington poll released Wednesday may explain why Republicans are misleading voters.
The survey found that 40% of Virginia adults prefer Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, while 37% favor Republican control. The same poll found that 57% of Virginians believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases and 35% said it should be illegal all or most of the time.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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