Goal Thermometer

There’s a lot riding on next month’s election in Virginia, where Republicans are spending heavily to try to retake the state and roll back huge progressive gains. Abortion rights are at the top of that list, with a Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. The new battleground is going to be the states, with Virginia leading the way.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe, running for an historic second term as governor, sees the danger from the Supreme Court. “I think they will undercut, undermine, question viability and all the other things they’re going to do. I think they’re going to roll back protections we’ve had since Roe v Wade, so I’m very concerned,” he said ahead of the Supreme Court resuming earlier this month.

He’ll preserve those protections in his state. His opponent won’t, and has said so.

That’s Glenn Youngkin in the final debate in the race, telling moderator Chuck Todd that he would block abortion rights protections in the state’s constitution. Youngkin has been squishy enough in public statements that forced birthers have warned him their support isn’t guaranteed. The president of Students for Life of America blasted him in an op-ed in The Washington Post last month, accusing him of a “willingness to throw the rank and file under the proverbial bus” because he “couldn’t bring himself to embrace the pro-life majority of voters who were considering giving him the honor of their vote.”

Youngkin needs the forced birthers’ help, so he’s doubled down on the issue and won’t be going back. It’s worked. Youngkin got the endorsement of the forced birth extremists at the Susan B. Anthony list, which is running a $1.4 million ad campaign against McAuliffe in the last days of the campaign. Then there’re Youngkin’s own words.

“As the next Governor of Virginia, I will proudly stand up for the unborn and their mothers,” Youngkin told the forced-birth advocates. “I believe life begins at conception. My views are formed not only by my faith, but by science as well.” Because believing a fertilized egg is human life is so based in science.

Youngkin went a lot further on his views on abortion in an undercover video recorded in July by progressive activist Lauren Windsor. “I’m going to be really honest with you,” Youngkin is recorded telling Windsor, who went undercover as a supporter and asked him about his failure to campaign on curtailing abortion rights. “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.”

Just to highlight: “When I’m governor,” he said, “we can start going on offense.” That means ending Virginians’ abortion rights. “Listen, I am staunchly, unabashedly pro-life. And the abortion issue is an issue that the Democrats use to divide us,” Youngkin said in the video. He tells Windsor “you’ll never hear me support Planned Parenthood. What you’ll hear me talk about is actually taking back the radical abortion policies that Virginians don’t want. And in fact they’re the radicals, they’re the radicals. And we’ve got to take it back.”

Windsor pressed him on issues like “getting a fetal heartbeat bill here like they did in Texas, or defunding Planned Parenthood.” Youngkin told Windsor that he thinks she’s “on the right path” on those issues, and that he intends to work on abortion issues he says a “majority of Virginians” support, including to “stop using taxpayer money for abortions” (which does not happen) and banning “abortions all the way up until the last week before birth” (which is also all but nonexistent in reality, but is preserved in order to save the lives of women suffering dangerous medical conditions).

The contrast here could not be clearer. The Trump-packed Supreme Court has already indicated that it is going to severely curtail abortion rights, and McAuliffe vows to stand as a “brick wall” to protect the right to abortion in Virginia if the Supreme Court overthrows Roe v. Wade and leaves the question to the states.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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