September 3, 2021 News & Press Releases

What People Are Saying About Glenn Youngkin’s Anti-Abortion Extremism and the Virginia Governor’s Race: Part II

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Youngkin’s hardline anti-abortion agenda has gained renewed urgency after Texas and Supreme Court gut reproductive rights

Richmond, VA — This week, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in support of a draconian Texas law prohibiting nearly all abortions in the state has once again highlighted the urgency of protecting reproductive rights at the state level. While Terry McAuliffe has been — and will always be — a brick wall against extreme GOP attacks on reproductive rights in Virginia, Glenn Youngkin and his right wing allies will stop at nothing to drag the Commonwealth backwards.

Youngkin has made his hardline agenda clear: he wants to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. Youngkin is also bankrolling a slew of extreme anti-abortion Republican candidates he hopes to bring to Richmond.

See here for our previous recap of coverage on this vital issue in the Virginia governor’s race. See below for the latest recap.

The New York Times: Abortion Arrives at the Center of the American Political Maelstrom

The Supreme Court’s decision not to block a Texas law sharply curtailing abortions abruptly vaulted the issue to the forefront of American politics on Thursday, reshaping the dynamics of elections in California this month, in Virginia in November and in midterms next year that will determine control of Congress and statehouses.

Republicans hailed the court’s 5-to-4 decision, explained in a one-paragraph middle-of-the-night ruling, as a tremendous victory, allowing a nearly complete ban on abortions to stand in the nation’s second-largest state. [...]

In Virginia, Democratic candidates for the state’s three statewide offices and House of Delegates pounced on the issue on Thursday. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is running to recapture the office in November, said the fight for abortion rights would help motivate Democratic voters who might be complacent after the party captured full control of state government in 2019 and helped Mr. Biden win the state last year.

The Washington Post: Opinion: Texas’s abortion law is a nightmare for women — and a warning to the nation

The Supreme Court’s latest move on abortion — allowing a Texas law that comes close to banning the procedure in the state to stand, a likely precursor to overturning Roe v. Wade — has suddenly pushed the issue back to the top of the national political agenda with a vengeance. [...]

That big test case is in Virginia, one of two states holding gubernatorial elections this year. The abortion issue has already been playing a major role in the campaign pitting former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe against Glenn Youngkin, the Republican who portrays himself as less a representative of his party than a can-do business leader.

That’s because one of Youngkin’s chief vulnerabilities has been his caginess on abortion. In July, a liberal activist captured Youngkin on video, saying he “can’t” discuss the issue out of fear of alienating “independent voters.”

“When I’m governor, and I have a majority in the House, we can start going on offense,” Youngkin said on the video.

Note that Younkin cited not just the governorship but also the state legislature as key to future anti-abortion advances in the state. That by itself illustrates the stakes of allowing a return to GOP control of the governor’s mansion and the state legislature.

The Supreme Court decision has thrown that into even sharper relief. It suggests both that GOP-controlled state legislatures everywhere will now embark on a spree of anti-abortion legislation and that the court will facilitate it by chipping away at Roe or overturning in entirely.

McAuliffe is already running a brutal TV ad highlighting the footage of Youngkin explaining why he’s been mum on abortion, and another ad hammering him as an anti-choice threat to women’s health. According to his campaign, both are running in major markets backed by substantial buys. You can bet this will continue or even escalate.

The ruling will also put Youngkin on the defensive about his caginess on the issue. One reporter says he asked Youngkin three times on Wednesday whether he thinks something like the Texas law should pass in Virginia, and didn’t get a straight answer.

The Los Angeles Times: Abortion politics heat up after Supreme Court lets Texas ban take effect

The momentous decision by the Supreme Court to allow a sweeping abortion ban in Texas to take effect has intensified one of the most fraught issues in American politics heading into the 2022 midterm elections. [...]

The Texas law and Supreme Court ruling have catapulted abortion to the forefront of the most competitive gubernatorial election of 2021. In Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe had already been trying to make his support for abortion rights a defining issue in his campaign against Republican Glenn Youngkin.

In a call with reporters Thursday, McAuliffe warned that a GOP victories in the legislature and in the governor’s race would mean “we could see Virginia go the way of Texas.”

Youngkin on Wednesday deflected direct questions about whether he backs the Texas ban. 

HuffPost: Virginia GOP Gov. Candidate Won’t Say If He’d Sign A Texas-Style Abortion Ban

Glenn Youngkin, the GOP candidate in Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial contest, has promised Republican voters that he will go “on offense” to restrict abortion rights if he becomes the state’s next governor. But the Republican and his campaign haven’t yet said whether he would sign legislation similar to the Texas law that effectively banned abortion in the state this week. [...]

Youngkin’s Democratic opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, warned Thursday that a Youngkin victory would lead to attempts to enact a similar law in Virginia.

“For years, people would say that abortion is ending, and now we have seen that happen in Texas,” McAuliffe told reporters on a press call. “If Glenn Youngkin is elected and he gets the House here, there’s a good chance that we could see Virginia go the way of Texas.”

“This is a far-right extremist Trump candidate who wants to ban abortions in Virginia,” McAuliffe said. “He’s trying to hide his views, but we’re not going to let him.”

Asked if Youngkin would sign a bill similar to the Texas law, a spokesperson for his campaign pointed to comments the Republican candidate made at an event on Wednesday. [...] The spokesperson did not respond to a follow-up question about whether Youngkin would sign a similar bill if it did include those exceptions.

The Washington Post: Opinion: Texas’s abortion law is a nightmare for women — and a warning to the nation

Texas’s newly imposed antiabortion law combines the viciousness of flat-out abortion bans and the MAGA crowd’s penchant for bullying and harassment. [...]

Voters in other states should be wary. Anti-choice ideologue Glenn Youngkin, the GOP nominee for governor in Virginia, has made clear his vehement opposition to Roe. Now, he refuses to comment on the Texas law. Translation: Texas will be his model on abortion just as Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis (R) earns his praise on covid-19 policy. In an interview with Politico, Democratic nominee and former governor Terry McAuliffe warned, “It will be a huge motivator for individuals to come out and vote.”

DCist: ‘The Stakes Are Clear’: McAuliffe Seizes On Texas Abortion Law As Issue In Virginia Gubernatorial Race

Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe is pushing the issue of abortion rights to the forefront of his campaign against Republican Glenn Youngkin in the race for Virginia governor, seizing on a new Texas law that imposes significant restrictions on abortions and warning that Youngkin would do the same in Virginia. [...]

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, McAuliffe said he supports Virginia’s current laws, which permit abortions until the third trimester, after which they are only allowed if the woman’s life is in danger. But he also said he wants to enshrine abortion rights in Virginia’s state constitution as a backstop for the possibility that the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the seminal abortion rights case from 1973.

“I’d like to see Virginia enshrine Roe v. Wade because I’m really nervous about this Supreme Court and the antics they’re going to do,” he said.

Associated Press: Seeing danger, some in GOP leery of Texas abortion law

Almost instantly after most abortions were banned in Texas, Democrats were decrying the new law as unconstitutional, an assault on women’s health that must be challenged. But the reaction from many Republicans on the other side hasn’t been nearly as emphatic. [...]

Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe already has been making abortion a key issue. He points to secretly recorded video in which Youngkin tells a woman posing as an abortion opponent that he supports defunding Planned Parenthood but can’t talk about it publicly because “as a campaign topic, sadly, that in fact won’t win my independent votes that I have to get.”

On Thursday McAuliffe warned that if Youngkin wins and Republicans take over the state House ”there’s a good chance that we could see Virginia go the way of Texas.”

Bloomberg: GOP-Led Abortion Bans Risk Driving Away Voters the Party Needs

A Texas law that effectively bans most abortions will complicate Republican efforts to stem their losses among college-educated suburban voters as the polarizing issue moves to the forefront of upcoming elections. [...]

“Republicans are already hemorrhaging college-educated suburban voters,” said Sarah Longwell, publisher of the Bulwark, an anti-Donald Trump conservative news and opinion site. “This is an issue that further alienates that exact group of people.” [...]

The Texas law has already become an issue in Virginia before this November’s gubernatorial election. Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, who is trailing in polls, needs to cut into the Democratic advantage in the suburbs to win. [...]

Youngkin, who has been recorded by abortion rights activists saying he couldn’t discuss the issue without losing independent voters, tried to avoid the subject. Pressed by a reporter Wednesday on whether he’d support a similar law, the former Carlyle Group co-chief executive officer shifted the subject to McAuliffe’s support for third-trimester abortions when medically necessary, arguing that was too extreme for Virginia.

His campaign did not elaborate.

Reuters: Analysis: Texas abortion ban injects new urgency into U.S. election campaigns

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to block a near-total ban on abortions by Texas, alarmed Democratic candidates and abortion rights advocates had a single, urgent message for voters on Thursday: Abortion rights are on the ballot. [...]

"This should be a warning to all states in America they could go the way of Texas," Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, said at a news conference.

Republicans, by contrast, largely avoided commenting on the decision. Several Republican groups responsible for winning congressional and legislative elections likewise did not respond to a request for comment. [...]

In Virginia, which votes for governor and state assembly in November, McAuliffe's campaign has released two ads saying Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin wants to ban abortion and will continue hammering him on that point, his campaign said.

The Wall Street Journal: Pelosi Plans Abortion-Rights Vote for House After Supreme Court’s Texas Decision

The Texas law quickly became an issue in the marquee election contest of 2021, the race for governor in Virginia. Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe told a business luncheon Wednesday that the Texas law offered a preview of what could happen in Virginia if his opponent, Republican Glenn Youngkin, were elected. Mr. McAuliffe returned to the subject on Thursday, telling reporters that ‘’there is a good chance we will see Virginia go the way of Texas, and women will lose their rights.’’

Mr. Youngkin, interviewed by a reporter at the Wednesday luncheon, wouldn’t say whether he would sign a law like the one in Texas and said his main concern was Mr. McAuliffe’s position, which he described as favoring taxpayer-funded abortion late in pregnancy.

The Atlantic: What the Texas Abortion Law Means for the Midterms

Virginia, which holds its statewide elections in November, will be the first test of whether Democrats in the post-Trump era are sufficiently energized—and whether the Texas law helps them get voters to the polls. The gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has released a flurry of statements warning that a Texas-style law is in Virginia’s future if voters elect the Republican Glenn Youngkin. Pro-abortion-rights groups in the state have echoed that message. Tarina Keene, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, told me that her group has seen a surge of Virginians signing up to be monthly donors and sponsoring their annual gala in the past 48 hours. Anti-abortion activists and candidates may see a bump in interest in the coming weeks, too, as the new Texas law raises the saliency of the issue among voters. [...]

Keene is confident that the Texas law “will shock [Virginians] awake,” she said. “This could very well be the tipping point for the election.” She’s confident because she’s seen it before. In 2012, Virginia Republicans passed a law requiring women to receive an abdominal or transvaginal ultrasound before they could get an abortion. Democratic opposition was fierce, and the following year, McAuliffe beat the Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the race for governor. “We were off and running with a new, involved, vibrant, and committed reproductive-freedom movement in Virginia,” Keene said. “And that’s what kicked it off.”

The Washington Post: The Trailer: Why Democrats want to talk about Texas's abortion law (and Republicans don't)

In Virginia, Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe began running ads these week to warn that Glenn Youngkin, his Republican opponent, would ban abortion as soon as he could.

“There's a good chance that Virginia could go the way of Texas,” McAuliffe told reporters on a Wednesday morning call, adding that he would try to attract major corporations to move from Texas to Virginia if the law remained in place.

Virginia Democrats had already planned to highlight the issue next month, when the court hears the Mississippi case. In the call and in paid media, McAuliffe had cited remarks Youngkin made to an undercover liberal reporter, telling her that the abortion issue wouldn’t attract the “independent votes that I have to get.” At a Wednesday appearance in Northern Virginia, where Republicans need to narrow the Democrats’ win margin, Youngkin didn’t defend the Texas law.

“My biggest concern when it comes to abortion in Virginia is my opponent's extreme views,” Youngkin told reporters, referring to Democratic support for late-term abortions in medical emergencies. Pushed further, he said he favored “exceptions in the case of rape, and in case of incest and in case of where the mother's life is in jeopardy,” which the Texas law does not permit.

Mediaite: CNN Commentator Predicts Texas Abortion Law Will Hurt Republicans in Virginia Governor’s Race

Democratic strategist and CNN commentator Paul Begala predicted that the Texas abortion law would hurt Republicans’ chances in the Virginia governor’s race, by helping motivate voters to reject the GOP candidate out of concern that he would sign a similar law. [...]

In Virginia, Begala said, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe was already running an ad on abortion rights against Glenn Youngkin, the Republican. [...]

Begala wasn’t alone in his view that abortion would be a factor in the Virginia gubernatorial election. Youngkinis already being questioned about the Texas law. Youngkin has repeatedly declared his pro-life beliefs on the campaign trail and promised GOP voters that he would “go on offense” against abortion if he were elected governor.

According to report by the Huffington Post, neither Youngkin nor his campaign spokesperson would answer questions about whether he would sign a Texas-style abortion law if he won. Avoiding the topic seems to be a campaign strategy; the Post noted that Youngkin “was caught on camera at a July campaign event telling voters that he shies away from the subject because he needs to win independent voters, whom polls show overwhelmingly favor abortion rights in Virginia.”