I just got off a conference call with DPVA Executive Director Lauren Harmon and State Senator Barbara Favola, discussing Mark Obenshain’s extreme record on women’s health. But first, check out the video, of EW Jackson lauding Mark Obenshain for his far-right-wing views on women’s health and reproductive freedom (or lack thereof, in these guys’ cases). At the 2011 Valley Family Forum’s annual “Salute To The Family” dinner, extremist nutjob EW Jackson warmed up the crowd for Obenshain, saying, “I know [Mark Obenshain], I know his work, I can’t think of anybody more deserving of the Wilberforce Award.” Great, huh? Kinda gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling? No, didn’t think so.
And what, you ask, is the Valley Family Forum (the group that gives out the Wilberforce Award), you ask? Well, among other things, they believe that “Abortion is America’s holocaust, and Roe v. Wade should be overturned.” They’re also closely affiliated with David Barton, an “evangelical historian” who “argues that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and must return to those roots.” Barton was totally discredited in 2012, “with the publication in April 2012 of his book ‘The Jefferson Lies,’ which portrays Thomas Jefferson as an orthodox Christian who saw no need to separate church and state.” The book was so bad that “Christian scholars tore apart the new book, pointing out a bevy of errors and distortion,” and it was even “voted ‘the least credible history book in print‘ in an online poll by the History News Network.” Anyway, this is the same guy closely connected with the group that had EW Jackson praising Mark Obenshain, and which awarded Obenshain an award for his extremist work over the years.
Speaking of which, why exactly DID Mark Obenshain receive the Wilberforce Award? According to the Valley Family Forum, it’s for Obenshain’s sponsorship of legislation like: the “Right to Life Act,” a “Ban on Abortion Services in Health Care Exchanges,” the anti-LGBT “Marriage Amendment,” and also (of course) “school choice.” And that’s not even mentioning Obenshain’s sponsorship of a bill that would have criminalized miscarriages, and for his support of “personhood” legislation that would effectively make all abortions (including in cases of rape, incest, or the life/health of the mother) equivalent to murder, while banning many forms of contraception, in-vitro fertilization, and embryonic stem cell research. Yeah, Obenshain’s a frightening guy, with even more frightening friends. And perhaps most frightening of all is that he doesn’t necessarily come across like an EW Jackson or Ken Cuccinelli-level raving lunatic, so a lot of people think he’s not. But he very much is. In fact, I’d argue he’s actually MORE dangerous than Cuccinelli and Jackson, because he’s quieter and therefore more insidious.
With that, here are a few highlights from the DPVA conference call.
*Lauren Harmon said “frankly, EW Jackson is scary,” particularly on women’s health issues. Harmon reminded us of Jackson’s comments claiming Planned Parenthood has been far worse than the KKK, and comparing abortion to slavery.
*Harmon noted that Obenshain votes “like EW Jackson talks,” and in fact was awarded for those views by the Valley Family Forum. The bottom line, in Harmon’s views, is that Jackson’s and Obenshain’s views on women’s health issues “are the same.”
*Sen. Favola said it’s “very important we peel back the onion and tell voters…what the candidates stand for and what their actions stand for.”
*According to Favola, Obenshain has been “running a stealth campaign, where he really has not come forward and told voters the truth” about his record on women’s health care, reproductive freedom, and other issues.
*Favola: “Mark Obenshain has introduced bills” (e.g., “personhood,” criminalizing miscarriage, transvaginal ultrasound) and “taken votes that very much support EW Jackson’s rhetoric. It is very frightening.”
*”These votes indicate true values…what he thinks and where he places his emphasis.” They are not one-time votes, they are repeated, over many years and many votes a “consistent pattern.”
*Bottom line: Obenshain “has a clear record of trying to impose his [extreme] ideology on others…if he is elected Attorney General, he very much will take his social agenda to the Attorney General’s office, [just as we saw under Ken Cuccinelli].”