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Press Releases Thursday, Oct 26 2023

ICYMI: Are These ‘Reasonable’ Republicans Privately Plotting an Abortion Crackdown?

Oct 26, 2023

“But the woman wanted to know where Woolf really stood, and whether he would support restricting abortion access even further if he’s elected….’I think we have to talk about it, right?’” [Bill Woolf said].

Yesterday, Rolling Stone reported that Republicans running for state legislative office in Virginia are saying, behind seemingly-closed doors, that they want to go even further than Glenn Youngkin’s draconian 15-week abortion ban — particularly concerning given Youngkin has said he will sign any anti-abortion rights legislation they put across his desk.

Youngkin’s ban proposal is an election year charade designed to give cover to the very anti-abortion extremists he is bankrolling. Under a Republican trifecta in Richmond, a full ban is not just on the table — it’s the plan.

Rolling Stone: Are These ‘Reasonable’ Republicans Privately Plotting an Abortion Crackdown?
By Tessa Stuart | 10/25/2023

Key Points: 

  • AT A FUNDRAISER at the Country Club of Fairfax earlier this month, an attendee sidled up to Bill Woolf, a Republican running for state Senate, and told him plainly that she was disappointed in his embrace of a “compromise” on “the issue of life.” Woolf, who is running for office for the first time this year, has said publicly he wants to find a “consensus” on abortion. The current consensus among Republican candidates in Virginia is that banning abortion around 15 weeks is a position voters will tolerate.
  • But the woman wanted to know where [Republican State Senate candidate Bill] Woolf really stood, and whether he would support restricting abortion access even further if he’s elected. He didn’t say no. “I think we have to talk about it, right?” Woolf answered, according to a recording of the exchange shared with Rolling Stone, making him the latest Virginia Republican to leave the door open to a more restrictive ban if his party gains control of the General Assembly this November.
  • John Stirrup, a candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates who is publicly supporting a “reasonable” 15-week ban, told one potential voter, “I would support a 100 percent ban.” He told another, “I’d like to see, you know, [a] total ban.”
  • GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin — who once promised supporters privately he would go “on offense” on abortion if he had a Republican-controlled legislature — told attendees of an online forum earlier this year: “Any bill that comes to my desk I will sign, happily and gleefully, in order to protect life.”
  • Polls indicate that the overwhelming majority of voters in Virginia — 71 percent, per a survey from the Public Religion Research Institute — believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. By that measure, Virginians are more supportive of abortion rights than residents of California or Illinois.
  • Other high profile Republicans now rallying around the 15-week ban have supported much more severe restrictions in the past. In an appearance on Newsmax when she was running for office in 2021, Winsome Sears — now lieutenant governor of Virginia — said that she would support bringing a Texas-style bounty law, banning abortion at six weeks, to the commonwealth. Todd Gilbert, now the speaker of the House of Delegates, once supported a bill that declared life begins at conception and that unborn children would have “all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons” under Virginia law.

Published: Oct 26, 2023 | Last Modified: Nov 1, 2023

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