Virginia: Ground Zero for Abortion and Women’s Health Care

6 mins read

This year’s Women’s March, which took place this weekend across the country and in Washington, D.C., is a critical event for Virginia and for the nation. Republicans are making a concerted effort to stifle Virginia’s progress and set it along the same path of decay that Texas is following. If they succeed, women and minorities will be relegated to second-class citizens with numerous voting restrictions and reduced women’s health care availability.

Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for governor, is an extremely wealthy former businessman attempting to buy the governorship. Definitely not pro-life but rather anti-abortion, the candidate also opposes mandatory vaccination and masks. Further, Youngkin was caught explaining that he hides his extremist anti-abortion views in order to garner independent votes. The vast majority (79%) of Virginians support a woman’s right to an abortion and Youngkin knows it. Glenn is a big-time corporate dealmaker striving to convince a skeptical electorate to buy his product. A product that makes him governor and restores Republican control of Virginia’s legislature.

This year saw a historic number of abortion restrictions passed into state law, culminating in the Supreme Court’s decision to not intervene in the Texas ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The law encourages Texans to turn in their neighbors for ideology and profit. It establishes a $10,000 bounty on anyone who assists a woman who has an abortion. Unfortunately, many of Virginia’s Republican lawmakers are every bit as zealous and extreme toward abortion as the Texans. 

Early last decade when Virginia’s legislative body passed a notorious transvaginal ultrasound and mandatory 24-hour waiting period before any abortion, most of the nation was horrified. So-called small government Republicans not only demanded entry into our homes and bedrooms but now, also wanted access into women’s bodies. That requirement was rolled back by Virginia’s new Democratic government. As the Washington Post points out, “In 2020, after Democrats took control of the state House and Senate, they rolled back restrictions on abortion that Republicans had put in place between 2012 and 2013, such as mandating that a woman receive an ultrasound and wait 24 hours before any abortion. Earlier this year, Democrats passed a law to allow health insurance plans purchased through state-run exchanges to cover abortion procedures.”

Youngkin, who has called himself “pro-life,” has criticized those changes. A true Trump fan, Youngkin will say anything to please his audience. Unsurprisingly, former President Donald Trump endorsed Youngkin multiple times.

If Republicans truly believe what they say about choice, now is a great time to rescind all the laws forcing ultrasounds, mandatory counseling, and waiting periods before women can access abortions. Conservatives and Youngkin claim that there is no comparison between abortions and vaccine/mask mandates; they claim it is all about the fetus and reverence for life. With over 700,000 Americans dead of COVID-19, however, this argument is wearing very thin. If conservatives truly valued human life, they would be the strongest supporters of vaccines and mask mandates. But instead, they are rallying against those things. What they value is their extremist religious support and control over women who they believe cannot be trusted with the same rights and freedoms as men.

Two threads run through the extremist religious beliefs against abortion. First and foremost is the belief that women are subservient to men based upon biblical writings that are over 2,000 years old. The second is the belief that a woman’s chastity must be preserved at all costs. The extremists seek a return to the “good old days,” the 1950s and ‘60s, when girls and women were publicly ostracized and punished for life if they became pregnant. Men were seldom if ever condemned and often praised for being “manly.” 

Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic Party candidate for governor, is a very strong advocate for women and their health care.

I was a brick wall to protect women’s rights when I was governor. They tried to shut the 16 women’s clinics down, and had I not got elected in 2013, there would not be a woman’s clinic open today.

Terry McAuliffe

Elections matter, especially this year, in order to protect women’s basic rights in Virginia. 

Given the recent Supreme Court abortion action concerning Texas, this election is critical for choice and for Virginia. The anti-abortion crowd is staunchly convinced that Glenn Youngkin will be dedicated to instituting abortion restrictions like transvaginal ultrasounds and heartbeat restrictions.

If you value freedom and do not want Virginia to become a theocracy run by preachers or another failing Republican state, vote Democratic at every level of government. It matters.

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

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