I was in disbelief as I read the Texas anti-choice law which criminalizes all abortions after six weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest. The law effectively bans abortion even before many women know they are pregnant and prompts citizens to prosecute anyone they suspect may be involved in facilitating an abortion – paying them 10,000. $ if their lawsuit wins. This law has frightening implications for our Virginia election.
In examining the political positions of our local candidates on abortion, there is a cohesive theme. Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin said in a videotaped conversation he would go “in violation” to limit access to abortion once elected governor. The website of Del. Michael Webert (R-18th) says he “believes life begins at conception and is 100% pro-life”. It is clear that access to abortion could be significantly limited or denied if elected.
The Republican candidate of the 88th arrondissement, Phillip Scott, underlines his “tireless dedication to the protection of the unborn child”. Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Winsome Sears, recently said in a television interview that she would support a law in Virginia based on that in Texas.
These candidates claim to be “pro-life” and yet this position seems to apply only to the control of women’s reproductive choices. They oppose bills that regulate or limit the possession of firearms, such as SB 479, which prohibits persons subject to a protection order from owning a firearm, or HB 9, which requires the reporting of lost or stolen firearms. These are common sense steps that could have saved some of the 1,025 Virginians who died from gun violence in 2019 (Source: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics), in the most recent year for which data is available. available. Eighty-seven percent of those who died were children or adolescents under the age of 19.
My delegate, Webert, voted “no” to the measure prohibiting persons subject to a protection order from owning a firearm. He voted ânoâ to establishing gun-free zones on school board property. Anti-abortion?
He voted against accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid, which ended up providing health care coverage to more than 400,000 Virginians. Anti-abortion?
He voted against increasing the minimum wage. Anti-abortion?
He voted against a bill banning LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, health care and other services and goods available to the general public. Anti-abortion?
In contrast, the Democratic majority in our state legislature has passed several measures protecting a woman’s reproductive freedom. These include: eliminating Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound law that would force a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an unnecessary and intrusive procedure; eliminate a 24-hour waiting period and counseling process, and remove unnecessary restrictions on reproductive health centers – restrictions that were intended to shut down centers offering abortions.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has pledged to work with lawmakers in our states to pass an amendment to the Virginia Constitution that permanently codifies the protections provided by Roe v. Wade. He is committed to addressing inequalities in women’s health that translate into poor prenatal care and maternal mortality that particularly affect women of color.
In May 2021, Hala Ayala, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, released her “reproductive rights” plan which includes the passage of a constitutional amendment to codify the right to abortion, ensure access to contraceptive care, launch a program of paid family and medical leave and fight against maternal, fetal and child mortality in our State.
Our current District 31 delegate, Democrat Elizabeth Guzman, is a strong supporter of women’s rights to choose and receive quality reproductive health care. She co-sponsored the General Assembly bill to ease restrictions on abortion coverage in state health insurance plans.
Why is this so critical? We are seeing a trend among Republican majority states towards extremist laws that will have a dramatic impact on a woman’s right to control her own body and her lifestyle choices, while these same Republicans assert their right to forgo their vaccine. COVID or wearing a mask in the midst of a deadly pandemic.
We must protect the inherent right – the constitutional right – of women in Virginia to make the difficult decisions about maintaining a pregnancy. For those of us who have been through pregnancy and childbirth, we know the experience stays with you for better or for worse.
This is real life: a life where young girls are sexually assaulted by a parent or family friend, high school and college girls are raped, couples face the horrific news of serious and fatal fetal malformations and women are subjected to heartbreaking trials. decisions after a failed contraceptive attempt.
If your religious or personal beliefs dictate that you will not use contraception or have an abortion, so be it. No.
However, don’t impose your belief system on the rest of us. It is a nation that prides itself on being free from religious oppression and government interference in our health care choices. Witness the absence of vaccination warrants.
Please stand up for the women of Virginia and vote for the Democrats in November.