By Olivia Gans Turner, President, Virginia Society for Human Life
Virginia’s Democrats are right. Extreme politicians are pushing their radical agenda on the people of Virginia—except it’s not Republicans who have extreme plans for the Commonwealth, it’s Democrats! Nowhere is this more evident than on the issue of abortion.
Radical pro-abortion members of the General Assembly stood in lockstep opposition to every pro-life bill that was offered during the 2023 session. They opposed a bill to provide babies who might survive a late- term abortion appropriate medical care. They blocked a bill to create a website to share information about free medical care and other support to pregnant women and their children.
And, yes, they were a “wall” against the rational bill supported by Gov. Youngkin that would prevent abortions after preborn babies can feel pain at 15 weeks—which is nearly four months of pregnancy. None of these bills would “ban abortion.”
Knowing the public is not with them, pro-abortion Democrat candidates are hiding just how far they want to go. They want to change the Virginia Constitution to create an unrestricted “right to abortion” through all nine months of pregnancy. They did manage to pass their amendment bill in the Virginia Senate this year on party lines. They are boasting now that they will pursue it again if they get a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly this fall. That’s extremism that is not supported by reasonable Virginians.
Any such amendment would remove laws supported by most rational Virginians, including our Parental Consent law, and Partial- Birth Abortion/ Infanticide ban. It would ultimately require that Virginians pay for all abortions under state programs using our taxes. It would prevent any commonsense protective laws that would help women find information about help they want or risks they may face from various abortion techniques. The ultimate effect of such a change would be to assist abortion businesses—not women or our children.
Recent polling indicates that the public doesn’t hold the same unbridled support for unlimited abortion that the pro-abortion Democrat candidates in Virginia are championing. In fact, over 70 percent of those polled in 2023 by McLaughlin & Associates said they only support abortion in very rare circumstances, including life of the mother, or rape and incest. Abortions for those reasons amount to less than 6% of all abortions, according to national statistics. A January 2023 Marist poll indicates that 60% of Americans continue to oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.
What do Virginia women need? For starters, more affordable resources to support them during pregnancy and the life of their children.
Virginia is fortunate to have in place a wide network of independent Pregnancy Resource Centers operated by committed individuals. These centers offer help—free of charge—to any pregnant woman for up to two years or more after her child is born. Medical care, legal advice, housing, job training, and parenting support are just some of the services many centers provided.
Currently there are over 40 programs at work in Virginia. Does Virginia need more efforts like these? Yes, always, but many women and children and families have already benefited from these free programs.
So far not one Democrat has given their support for efforts like these in Virginia. That was clearly evident last year after the Dobbs ruling when the only voices that spoke out against the vandalism happening at these focused on mother-helping centers in Virginia were Republican, led by Virginia Attorney General, Jason Miyares.
Democrats have one answer for women seeking support: more abortion. They seem to truly believe that’s what women in complicated situations want when it couldn’t be further from the truth.
These bills being offered to protect women and babies from unscrupulous abortionists deserve a fair hearing at the General Assembly. Gov. Youngkin is no extremist, and his proposed bill will not ban abortion in Virginia. It is a commonsense measure that respect what science tells us about these little ones who can and do feel horrible pain when they are killed by abortions.
His bill is sensible and humane.
So, yes indeed, abortion is a very important issue this year, but not for any of the reasons that pro-abortion Democrats want us to believe. That is why Virginia voters need to reject the rhetoric of Democrat candidates who are tied to the abortion industry and join those of us who want to see a rational way forward on the abortion issue in a post- Roe world.