I just got off a call with Virginia reproductive rights and progressive organizations (NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, Planned Parenthood Virginia, Progress VA), the purpose of which was to refute Mark Obenshain’s attempt to rewrite his extreme anti-women’s health record.
According to Tarina Keene, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia: the reason for the call is to dispel a “myth” Obenshain’s been pushing the past several weeks, attempting to deny his own past record and pretend to be a moderate. In fact, Obenshain back in 2009 introduced SB 962, a bill which would have required women to report miscarriages to the police within 24 hours or face a Class 1 misdemeanor, which includes a possibility of jail time. Keene said “we can all agree on the callousness of his attempt to criminalize tragic pregnancy complications and intimidate grieving Virginia women with the threat of law enforcement.” This is shocking, in Keene’s view, and makes one wonder why is Obenshain now denying knowledge of and/or support for his own bill? According to Keene, Obenshain DID introduce the bill, and “to say otherwise otherwise is to blatantly deny the purpose of his own legislation.” So, basically, Obenshain either didn’t read his own bill before he chose to introduce it, or the candidate for Virginia’s top attorney didn’t understand what his own bill’s implications were. Regardless, in Keene’s view, it’s time for Obenshain to stop misleading Virginia voters and trying to rewrite history.
According to Anna Scholl, Executive Director, Progress VA, Sen. Obenshain has a long record of “disregarding the impact of his right-wing extremism on women’s health.” Obenshain has a clear, long record of supporting measures to put up barriers to women’s access to reproductive care, and imposing hardships on women that he’s now claiming to oppose…
…This is the same guy who tried to block students at JMU from obtaining emergency contraception; who was a co-patron of the infamous “personhood” legislation that would outlaw all abortion and criminalize some forms of contraception; and of course his support for mandatory, trans-vaginal ultrasounds (he called it “common sense”; he also referred to the final, non-invasive version as the “PG version” of the legislation). In Scholl’s view, Obenshain apparently thinks he knows more than medical professionals. Clearly, Obenshain “has a long record of thoughtless disregard for the impact of his right-wing ideology on women’s health.” He has demonstrated that he is “nothing but a right-wing extremist” who will try to rewrite history in hopes that Virginia families won’t notice.
Finally, according to Cianti Stewart-Reid, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC, we want and need an Attorney General who won’t politicize the office, as Ken Cuccinelli has done. But given Obenshain’s record of standing with Cuccinelli on almost every issue, as well as his close ties to Cuccinelli, it’s more likely that Obenshain would model himself after the hyper-partisan Cuccinelli. Among other things, Cuccinelli and Obenshain both favor “personhood” legislation, both favor defunding Planned Parenthood, both support restricting access to contraception, both favor the onerous “TRAP” regulations on women’s health/abortion clinics in Virginia, etc., etc. Bottom line: it’s clear based on what we’ve seen from Obenshain and Cuccinelli that they are “two peas in a pod.”