Home 2023 Elections EMILY’s List Memo:  Democratic Pro-Choice Women are Defending Our Rights in Virginia

EMILY’s List Memo:  Democratic Pro-Choice Women are Defending Our Rights in Virginia

"Given their extreme records, it’s clear leading Republicans, including House Speaker Todd Gilbert and Lt. Gov. and President of the Senate Winsome Earle-Sears, would put forth the most restrictive abortion bans possible."

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From EMILY’s List:

TO:            Interested Parties
FROM:      Sarah Curmi, EMILYs List Vice President of State and Local Campaigns
DATE:       October 4, 2023
RE:            Democratic Pro-Choice Women are Defending Our Rights in Virginia
Virginia’s November elections will have sweeping consequences for Virginians and women across the country. Virginia is the last state in the South without an abortion ban, and EMILYs List is fully committed to supporting strong Democratic pro-choice women candidates in the Commonwealth who will protect abortion rights.

Virginians are clear: abortion rights are both popular and motivating. 

  • An overwhelming 71% of Virginians support protecting abortion access.
  • This year’s Democratic primaries in Virginia made it very clear, “abortion is still the motivating issue for Democrats and non-affiliated voters.” [The Messenger, 7/6/23]
  • Primaries focused on abortion, like Lashrecse Aird’s and Amy Laufer’s, were a clear indication that abortion would “continue to be top of mind for voters heading into the fall as they decide control of both chambers of the state legislature in a key swing state.” [Vox, 6/21/23]

EMILYs List has endorsed 29 Democratic pro-choice women who are ready to defend reproductive health care against Republicans who are promising an abortion ban. 

  • Some of the most competitive races in the Commonwealth feature candidates like former CIA officer and prosecutor Russet Perry, running against Juan Pablo Segura, who supports a new ban on abortion and has aligned himself with the most extreme figures in the anti-choice movement – including those who would ban birth control.
  • State Del. Danica Roem is running against an anti-transgender, anti-choice extremist in Bill Woolf. Woolf supports an abortion ban.
  • Kimberly Pope Adams is running against Kim Taylor, who supports an abortion ban and has used her business to sponsor and host fundraisers for a so-called crisis pregnancy center in her district that misleads women seeking reproductive health care.
  • Karen Jenkins, a mental health care professional, is running against Baxter Ennis, an election conspiracy theorist who has pledged to support an abortion ban.
  • Lily Franklin is running to be a voice for rural Virginians against anti-abortion extremist Chris Obenshain, who is “aligned with his cousin Mark Obenshain, who introduced a bill in the Virginia Senate in 2009 ‘that would have required a woman to report her miscarriage to the police within 24 hours of it happening or risk jail time.’” [Vanity Fair, 8/31/23]

Make no mistake: Republican candidates will force an abortion ban on Virginians.

  • Gov. Glenn Youngkin has pledged to “gleefully” sign any abortion ban into law.
  • If Republicans are successful in their attempts to create a Republican trifecta with their MAGA extremist candidates, they will elect radical leaders in both chambers of the legislature.
  • Given their extreme records, it’s clear leading Republicans, including House Speaker Todd Gilbert and Lt. Gov. and President of the Senate Winsome Earle-Sears, would put forth the most restrictive abortion bans possible.
    • Todd Gilbert has referred to abortion as a “lifestyle convenience” and supports so-called fetal personhood, which would threaten access to basic contraception.
    • Winsome Earle-Sears has said she would support a Texas-style abortion ban in Virginia.

The Bottom Line: EMILYs List-endorsed candidates are the front line to defend abortion rights in Virginia. If a politician believes they have the right to decide the when, where, or how of whether a woman is able to access health care, they must be stopped.

EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, works to elect Democratic pro-choice women up and down the ballot and across the country with a goal of fighting for our rights and our communities. Our work is centered around a fundamental vision: Run. Win. Change the World. EMILYs List has raised $850 million in service to that vision and has helped Democratic women win competitive elections by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running one of the largest independent expenditure operations for Democrats, and turning out women voters to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country’s first woman as vice president, 175 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 20 governors, and over 1,500 women to state and local office. More than 40% of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. Visit www.emilyslist.org for more information.
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