October 20, 2023 News & Press Releases

FRIDAY READING: Glenn Youngkin Says His Abortion ‘Limit’ Isn’t a Ban. Virginia GOP Candidates Say Otherwise.

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Jezebel: Glenn Youngkin Says His Abortion ‘Limit’ Isn’t a Ban. Virginia GOP Candidates Say Otherwise.

October 19, 2023 | Susan Rinkunas

Republicans across the country continue to do backflips to try to make their unpopular abortion bans seem less bad: They keep lying about ballot measures and trying to paint Democrats as the real extremists. Virginia is no exception, and the November 7 elections will determine the fate of abortion access in the state. While Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has insisted—and spent $1.4 million to say as much—that his 15-week abortion ban is a “limit” and not a ban, his Republican colleagues running for state House and Senate have been undermining his rhetorical gymnastics.

Republicans currently control the House of Delegates and Democrats control the Senate, but only by four seats each. If Republicans flip the Senate, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has made it clear that he expects them to pass a 15-week abortion ban. (Youngkin has been talking about passing the ban since the fall of Roe v. Wade and his PAC conducted all-women focus groups on the legislation this summer.) Virginia is the last state in the South that hasn’t restricted abortion after the fall of Roe and this would be devastating for access across the region.

But the $1.4 million ad that Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia PAC is running on cable, streaming, and digital media falsely claims the party isn’t pushing for a ban and that it’s “disinformation” to say otherwise. The ad states “there is no ban” and that “Virginia Republicans support a reasonable 15-week limit.” No abortion ban is reasonable, but this choice of words is nothing more than an effort to mislead voters into thinking it’s OK to vote for Republicans or to simply not vote.

However, complicating Youngkin’s efforts to rebrand a ban as a mere “limit” are the words of actual Republicans on the ballot in Virginia this fall. At least five of them have correctly called Youngkin’s bill a ban, per a memo shared with Jezebel by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to state legislatures.

Here’s a rundown.

Delegate Jason Ballard (HD-42)

Ballard is running for re-election in House District 42. His own website says: “Through increased funding for pregnancy centers that encourage life and a 15-week abortion ban, Jason will always support legislation that will protect society’s voiceless.”

Ballard’s campaign did not respond to Jezebel’s request for comment.

Delegate Terry Kilgore (HD-45)

Kilgore, the House Majority Leader, is running for re-election in House District 45. In January, Kilgore told WHJL News Channel 11: “I’ve always been pro-life, so I think whatever the ban Governor Youngkin comes along with, I’m going to support. But it’s going to be somewhere around 15 weeks, 12 to 15 weeks.”

Kilgore’s campaign did not respond to Jezebel’s request for comment.

John Stirrup (HD-21) 

Stirrup is running for House District 21. The Washington Post obtained audio from June in which a voter asked Stirrup, “The Governor endorsed you. You’re with his 15-week ban?” He responded, “It’s a place to start…I’d like to see, you know, [a] total ban. But we gotta start somewhere.’”

Stirrup’s campaign did not respond to Jezebel’s request for comment.

Senator Mark Peake (SD-8)

Peake is running for re-election in Senate District 8. In January, after two lawmakers introduced bills that mirrored Youngkin’s proposal, Peake told WSLS News 10: “Most of us on the Republican side would prefer a bill that bans abortions much earlier.”

Peake’s campaign did not respond to Jezebel’s request for comment.

Glen Sturtevant (SD-12)

Sturtevant is running in Senate District 12. Sturtevant told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in July: “I am 100% pro-life and I support Gov. Youngkin’s bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks.”

Sturtevant’s campaign did not respond to Jezebel’s request for comment.

Abhi Rahman, communications director for the DLCC, said Youngkin can use whatever words he wants, but it won’t change the fact that banning abortion is on the ballot. “Despite his attempts to rebrand his proposed abortion restrictions, a ban is a ban,” Rahman said. “And it is these Republican legislators, not Gov. Youngkin, who will write and pass the legislation if they are elected in November.” Some GOP lawmakers want to ban abortion even earlier than 15 weeks, and Youngkin said last June, shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe, that he would “happily and gleefully” sign any bill that came to his desk “in order to protect life.”

Make no mistake, an abortion ban is on the table in Virginia.