Alexandria, VA, November 5, 2019 — Virginia made history today by flipping the currently controlled anti-abortion General Assembly to a pro-choice majority, paving the way for Virginia to pass meaningful, reproductive rights legislation that will protect and advance access to reproductive freedom for years to come, regardless of what happens at the federal level.
In a major win for women and families across the Commonwealth, Virginia voters rejected anti-choice politician’s misleading claims about abortion, preventing them from advancing their extremely dangerous agenda: to ban abortion and criminalize women, as they’ve attempted to do in over 30 states across the nation.
Today, Virginia voters sent a strong message to the rest of the country and the President – they disapprove of Trump as well as anti-abortion politician’s efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade and dismantle their reproductive rights and freedoms. The election outcome is consistent with a February 2019 Public Policy Polling poll that found 72% of Virginians trust a woman to make her own reproductive healthcare decisions, and do not want politicians interfering in her personal healthcare decisions.
“Today, Virginians came out to the polls to reject the notion that politicians have the right to control a woman’s reproductive destiny, and therefore, her future,” stated Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “By making false and inflammatory claims about abortion throughout 2019 at the expense of women and families, anti-abortion politicians in Virginia have made their bed and now they must lie in it. Virginians overwhelmingly—72%— support access to safe and legal abortion care and expect their legislators to secure a future that safeguards access to abortion care and upholds basic rights and justice. Virginians know that Roe is hanging by a thread at the Supreme Court, and today they elected candidates who trust a woman to make her own reproductive healthcare decisions and who will put their health and safety ahead of politics.”
“As we celebrate this historic victory, let’s not forget that time is of the essence. We are looking forward to working with the new party in power to right the wrongs of the past and bring true reproductive healthcare access and freedom to every Virginian. Women have waited long enough,” Keene noted.
In key districts and throughout the Commonwealth, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia members ran a multi-layered electoral program that included multiple rounds of direct mail, a mobile text program, and an extensive ground operation where members knocked on more than 46,000 doors and completed more than 10,000 phone calls. Additionally, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and NARAL Pro-Choice America engaged in digital advertising all combined reaching more than 200,000 Virginia voters.
Since September, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has worked to elect the following candidates and would like to congratulate:
- Delegate Hala Ayala (HD51), who won her reelection and who has used her elected position to protect women’s health and ensure that abortion care remains safe, legal, and accessible;
- Delegate Kathy Tran (HD42), who won her reelection, and who has stood up for the proactive policies that Virginians need in order to make abortion more accessible and improve women’s lives across the Commonwealth;
- Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (HD31), who won her reelection and who is a proven champion for reproductive freedom and stood strong for reproductive rights during her freshman term in the House of Delegates even in the face of adversity, often speaking out during the disinformation campaign launched by anti-abortion politicians earlier this year;
- House candidate Sheila Bynum-Coleman (HD66), reproductive rights advocate, who lost her election challenging anti-choice Kirk Cox, the entrenched Speaker of the House, who has been made to defend his long record of leading anti-abortion measures. We applaud Sheila’s efforts, and her commitment to standing up for reproductive health and rights for all Virginians.
- Senate Candidate Amanda Pohl (SD11), who lost her election challenging anti-woman, anti-choice sitting Senator Amanda Chase, whose record includes making it a felony for doctors to perform abortion and has made insulting and demeaning comments about women. We applaud Amanda Pohl’s efforts to stand up for women and families and thank her for running a strong campaign on reproductive health and rights!
- Delegate-elect candidate Karen Mallard (HD84), whose election result is still very close, and who challenged Delegate Glen Davis, one of the elected officials currently leading efforts to ban abortion, criminalize doctors, and threaten women’s health in Virginia.
- Senate-elect Missy Cotter Smasal (SD8), who lost her election and ran a fierce campaign, challenging anti-choice sitting Senator Bill DeSteph, who does not trust a woman to make her own reproductive healthcare decisions;
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and its PAC support candidates who are dedicated to family planning, preventing unplanned pregnancy, and increasing access to reproductive healthcare for women and families. The organization’s powerful statewide network of 22,000 activists will mobilize pro-choice voters throughout Virginia to help elect candidates in November.