September 2, 2021 News & Press Releases

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

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 below for a recap of coverage on this vital issue in the Virginia governor’s race.

MSNBC: Texas abortion ban reverberates from White House to state houses

In this year's gubernatorial races, Republicans have not been especially eager to talk about reproductive rights. Now, they don't have much of a choice. [...]

In Virginia, in particular, Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee, told voters during the GOP gubernatorial primary that he "can't" say too much about abortion before the election. He added, however, "When I'm governor and I have a majority in the House we can start going on offense. But as a campaign topic, sadly, that in fact won't win my independent votes that I have to get."

The relevance of that quote grew shortly after midnight this morning.

ABC News: Texas abortion law propels issue to forefront of Virginia gubernatorial campaign

Abortion rights is shaping up to be a core issue in Virginia gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe's campaign, amplified after the nation's most restrictive abortion ban took effect in Texas on Wednesday.

The former Democratic governor is now targeting Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin again over their different positions on the issue.

"The stakes are huge. ... For years, we've said, abortion could be outlawed. Well, it happened today," McAuliffe told ABC News in an interview. "I vetoed every bill that would have stood in the way of women making their own decisions. And, you know, I've vetoed bills that would have defunded Planned Parenthood. I stopped all their nonsense. But it's a battle here in Virginia. We're not going back." [...]

In addition to being "first and foremost," a threat to women's health, McAuliffe also said it's an economic issue, telling ABC News that "draconian laws" like Texas' are "absolutely devastating" to the economy.

Yahoo News: Texas law immediately elevates abortion issue in Virginia governor's race

Abortion emerged as a front-burner issue in the Virginia governor’s race on Wednesday, as the impact of a new near-total ban on the practice in Texas reverberated in one of the year’s marquee political contests.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who served as Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018 but was limited to one term by the state’s constitution, is running again and made sure to mention the Texas law while speaking at a business group luncheon.

“I cannot tell you how dangerous this is for women,” McAuliffe told about 300 attendees at an event organized by Virginia Free, a pro-business advocacy group. McAuliffe said that laws like the one in Texas are “crippling for business,” and spent most of his address talking about the ways he helped boost the commonwealth’s economy during his time as governor.

“I am the most pro-business Democrat you will ever know,” McAuliffe crowed in a peppy speech punctuated with applause lines.

The Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, a former private equity CEO, did not mention the abortion law in his speech to the group and declined to give his opinion on the Texas law during a press conference afterward.
Politico: Abortion becomes a ‘huge motivator’ in governor races

The new Texas abortion ban is refocusing both parties’ attention on races for state office over the next year, setting the stage for a clash over abortion rights at the ballot box.

On Wednesday, outraged Democrats sought to drag the issue of abortion rights into elections across the country, particularly in two key, blue-state governor’s races this fall: California and Virginia.

"It will be a huge motivator for individuals to come out and vote," Terry McAuliffe, the former Virginia governor who is running again, said in an interview. He repeatedly described himself as a "brick wall" on women's rights.

NBC News: Texas law could flip script on abortion politics, with Democrats eyeing gains

Virginia was once at the forefront of anti-abortion efforts, going to the Supreme Court to defend its right to prosecute a newspaper publisher for running an ad promoting abortion.

But today, Democrats are betting that voters in the modern-day Old Dominion will keep them in the governor's office to defend abortion rights after the Supreme Court tipped its hand on the hot-button issue Wednesday. [...]

Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat and the former governor of Virginia who is running for a second term, was already airing TV ads about abortion before the court allowed Texas’ strict new law, which bans abortion after six weeks, to go into effect Wednesday. [...]

“People have been talking about the end of abortion for years and years. Now it's actually happening,” McAuliffe said. “That will get people to come out in droves. It will really motivate folks.”

Associated Press: McAuliffe talks abortion, Youngkin taxes at Virginia forum

Democrat Terry McAuliffe told northern Virginia business leaders Wednesday that the recently enacted abortion legislation in Texas serves as a warning about what might happen if Republican Glenn Youngkin is elected governor.

“We need to be concerned here,” he told a crowd of nearly 300 people gathered at Ritz-Carlton Tysons to hear from all six Democratic and Republican candidates for statewide office on the ballot this November. “I cannot tell you how dangerous this is for women. Dangerous. And it’s crippling for business.” [...]

Democrats have said that Youngkin and Republicans will erode abortion rights if elected and that a conservative majority on the Supreme Court will allow it.

Youngkin, in his remarks, did not mention abortion. [...] But he expressed some frustration that he was being asked about abortion at a business forum.

The Washington Post: Trump fans election fraud theme as Virginia governor candidate Youngkin walks tightrope

McAuliffe also pressed Youngkin Wednesday on another divisive national issue: abortion, as a new law took effect in Texas banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

“I think you’ve just seen what’s happened in Texas,” McAuliffe said during an appearance at the Virginia FREE Leadership Luncheon in Fairfax, which Youngkin also attended. “I cannot tell you how dangerous this is for women. Dangerous. It is crippling for business.”

Asked if he would support such a law in Virginia, Youngkin did not answer directly.

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia's gubernatorial candidates share sharply opposing views on business, economy

Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are relying on their pro-business credentials in the battle to become Virginia’s next governor, but they posed sharply different visions on how to make the state better for business in appearances before an influential business advocacy group on Wednesday. [...]

McAuliffe immediately raised the threat posed to Virginia and its attractiveness to business by laws to restrict access to abortion, such as the one that was just allowed to take effect in Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a request to halt the law, which essentially bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. [...]

Youngkin tried to side-step the issue in remarks to the media after the luncheon that attempted to depict McAuliffe’s views on abortion as “extremist.”

The Hill: Democrats point to Texas abortion ban in bid to juice midterm turnout

Virginia, which holds its statewide elections in November, could give a preview into how messaging on abortion will play in 2022. [...]

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe has pushed to elevate the issue of abortion, releasing two ads over the past week hitting his Republican opponent on the issue. 

“This dangerous Texas law is exactly what Glenn Youngkin has in mind when he says he wants to go 'on offense' to ban abortion in the Commonwealth,” the former governor said in a statement on Wednesday. “We've seen these extreme right-wing attacks on reproductive health in Virginia before, and as governor I fought back against every single one.” [...]

When asked about the Texas abortion ban on Wednesday, Youngkin said McAuliffe would use the issue of abortion to divide Virginians. 

Virginia Scope: Virginia abortion access advocates participate in national rally opposing new restrictions in Texas

Abortion access advocates from Virginia joined a national virtual rally Wednesday to show opposition to the 6-week abortion ban that went into effect in Texas today. Advocates also stressed how they want to keep working to make sure that similar restrictions don’t come to Virginia. The law does not allow abortions to take place once a fetal heartbeat is recognized, typically around the six-week mark. Additionally, the legislation allows private citizens to sue abortion providers that they believe are not following the new law.

“Texas’ S.B. 8 makes it so your abortion is everyone’s business but your own,” Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said. “Abortion is still legal in Virginia, and we will do what we can to help get patients the care they need, no matter what.” [...]

The Youngkin campaign has been on the defense in this area since a secretly recorded video was released of him saying he cannot win in Virginia by campaigning hard on abortion.

WTOP: Virginia governor hopefuls discuss abortion rights, COVID-19 at luncheon

Virginia’s two major party candidates for governor attended an event in Tysons Wednesday, and each had something to say about the new Texas law banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, typically at about six weeks.

“I cannot tell you how dangerous this is for women,” Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe said.

Virginia Dogwood: Virginia’s November Election Could Decide If a Texas Abortion Ban Happens Here

Control of the House of Delegates and the Governor’s Mansion are up for grabs, and the GOP candidate vowed to go “on offense” on abortion if they win.

What a difference an election can make in a Southern state. [...]

While critics keep a close eye on what happens in Texas, reproductive rights advocates in Virginia are fighting to ensure the progress made here continues. In July, Republican governor candidate Glenn Youngkin was caught on camera saying he could not talk about restricting abortion access on the campaign trail because it would not be popular with the independent voters he needs to win, particularly in northern Virginia.

But Youngkin promised when he was governor, they would go “on offense” to restrict women’s health care.

“I’m going to be really honest with you. The short answer is in this campaign, I can’t. When I’m governor and I have a majority in the House we can start going on offense. But as a campaign topic, sadly, that in fact won’t win my independent votes that I have to get,” Youngkin said, according to the Washington Post. [...]

In contrast, Democratic candidate and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe supports women’s right to choose and access the health care they need.