Richmond, VA — It has long been clear that Republican Glenn Youngkin is advancing a dangerous right-wing agenda that he is unprepared to defend. Now, a new op-ed by Jamie Lockhart — Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia — makes clear that Youngkin’s hardline anti-abortion agenda is too extreme for Virginia.
Read Lockhart’s opinion below and find the full op-ed here.
The Virginian-Pilot: Opinion: Youngkin’s abortion position too extreme for Virginia
By Jamie Lockhart
After weeks of dodging questions about his support for Virginians’ reproductive freedom, Glenn Youngkin, the GOP nominee for Virginia governor, confirmed what we already knew: He’s ready to ban abortion, defund Planned Parenthood and send Virginia back in time.
And he’s willing to lie to voters so he can win in November and enact his far-right agenda from the governor’s desk.
At Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, we were already skeptical of Youngkin’s claim to be a moderate. He’s previously said that he’s “unabashedly pro-life,” pledged to “protect the unborn” and has been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt — both supporters of regressive abortion bans in their own states.
But even I was shocked when a video released recently showed Youngkin admitting that he’s deceiving Virginians to get their votes, flip the legislature, and strip us of essential health care.
In the video, Youngkin tells supporters that Gov. Ralph Northam and the governor before Northam — Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe — took Virginia “out of bounds” on abortion, enacting “radical abortion policies that Virginians don’t want.”
That’s just not true. Polling shows that 79% of Virginians support legal access to abortion and believe that the government should not prevent a woman from making her own health care decisions.
The reality is that Youngkin is out of touch with Virginians, and he’s been masquerading as a moderate in the hopes that we won’t notice.
We’ve already seen how this could play out. Just weeks ago, New Hampshire’s self-proclaimed “pro-choice” Republican Gov. Chris Sununu not only approved an abortion ban, but also a medically unnecessary ultrasound requirement similar to the one the Virginia General Assembly finally repealed last summer.
Clearly, we can’t trust that Youngkin won’t pull similar stunts once in office. In fact, he’s preparing to take us back to a time, not long ago, when Virginians faced an obstacle course of delays and restrictions to access abortion care. He wants to go even further, banning abortion before many women know they are pregnant, let alone make plans and secure funds for the procedure. But publicly, he’s going to keep hiding his real agenda, because he knows that Virginians will reject it, as they have again and again.
The patients who turn to Planned Parenthood deserve access without politician-created barriers that only serve to stigmatize abortion, birth control and other sexual health services. They also deserve champions for their health at every level of government.
We’re at a crossroads for reproductive rights, with the Supreme Court scheduled to hear a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade as soon as next spring. We know that governors and legislators have the power to safeguard our rights.
That’s why Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia endorsed Terry McAuliffe for governor. Unlike Youngkin, McAuliffe has been straight with voters for years about his support for abortion rights, vetoing every single attack on reproductive health, including attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. He’s also pledged to ensure our reproductive rights become part of the state’s constitution, protecting them for the future.
Virginians must vote as if their right to make decisions about their own body depends on it — because it does. The choice for Virginians is clear. Do we want to elect someone as dangerous as Youngkin, who’ll smile and lie to get your vote, while plotting to strip you of your rights?
Or would we rather have someone who shares our values and will continue moving Virginia forward?