Glenn Youngkin Drops $1.4 Million on Ad Buy Claiming Dems Want Abortion Up Until Birth

Virginia Republicans are desperate to win back the House. So the Virginia Governor's PAC has put out ads claiming Republicans aren’t trying to ban abortion.

Glenn Youngkin Drops $1.4 Million on Ad Buy Claiming Dems Want Abortion Up Until Birth
Photo:Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) put out a $1.4 million ad buy focusing on abortion to amplify bogus claims about Democrats ahead of November’s elections, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported on Tuesday. Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia PAC is focusing on key swing districts in the state legislature, as Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House of Delegates are presently neck-and-neck: Democrats hold a four-seat advantage in the Senate while Republicans hold a four-seat advantage in the House. Virginia is the last state in the South where abortion remains legal past 12 weeks, and the outcome of next month’s elections could dramatically shape the landscape of access for the entire region.

Per the Dispatch, Youngkin’s ads, which will run on cable, streaming, and digital media this week through Election Day, zero in on two central lies: that Republicans aren’t trying to ban abortion, and that Democrats are pushing abortion up until the moment of birth without limits. Both of these statements are, in fact, false. For starters, there’s no such thing as “abortion up until birth.” Secondly, Virginia Republicans, including Youngkin, are unified in calling for a 15-week ban, which is before many people know they’re pregnant and severely shortens the window of time in which people can get care. That hasn’t stopped Republicans from being purposefully deceitful: “Look, I know everyone in our caucus understands Virginians as a whole do not want a ban,” Republican House Speaker Todd Gilbert told the Dispatch. “We’ve been full-throated and clear that 15 weeks is where we are as public policy.”

Gilbert’s comments are flaming bullshit, but they’re also intensely revealing: Virginia Republicans—especially the handful in tight, highly competitive reelection races in more moderate districts—know how unpopular abortion bans are. So, like the rest of the party across the country, they’re appealing to voters with lies—like the one where they pretend a 15-week ban is not a ban.

“People across Virginia have been clear abortion is a real motivating issue,” Lauren Chou, deputy campaigns director at EMILY’s List overseeing Virginia state races, told Jezebel. “Saying every person should be able to make decisions about their own bodies isn’t the extreme position here—pushing your way into the doctor’s office, subjecting doctors and women to the threat of criminal law, like what Republicans have been very clear they want to do, is the extreme position.”

As for “abortion up until birth,” Democrats widely support Roe v. Wade’s standard that allows abortion until fetal viability—the point when the fetus can supposedly survive outside the womb, appraised by lawmakers as around 24 weeks. Fetal viability isn’t at all arbitrary and shouldn’t be legislated arbitrarily. (Most abortions take place in the first trimester. Later abortions happen—sometimes as a result of extreme fetal conditions or delayed access to abortion—and those who seek later abortions are often among the most vulnerable populations, including children and abuse survivors.) But specific to Youngkin’s lies about Democrats in the new ad buy, Virginia Democrats clearly don’t support feticide.

“Whether they admit it’s a ban or claim they’re just changing the law to take away abortion rights, it means women won’t have the rights they have now,” House Minority Leader Don Scott (D) told the Dispatch. He continued, “We are living in a world where my daughter has less rights than my mother. … They’re trying to buy a ban, they’re trying to buy an election, and they’re trying to buy control of Virginia.”

State Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, who’s running for reelection in a district in Richmond, voted last year for a 20-week abortion ban without rape exceptions. The Dispatch reports she’s spent $1.4 million compared to her Democratic opponent’s $929,000. Another Republican facing a close reelection race, state Sen. Juan Pablo Segura, who’s said he supports an abortion ban, has spent $1.8 million to his Democratic opponent’s $1.35. They’re all following Youngkin’s lead: The Republican governor and rising Republican Party star is cashing out for control of the legislature because, as The Daily Beast contends, his political future in the party (namely a presidential bid someday) depends on it. And the right to abortion will make or break this.

Republicans running for reelection in more moderate districts across the state have fairly concerning records too, widely supporting a 15-week ban. In addition to Dunnavant, Republican House delegates Kim Taylor and Karen Greenhalgh both have personal and business relationships with anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers that try to prevent people from having abortions. “These are extreme candidates by any definition, no matter what they say,” Chou said. “They all support the same agenda and they’re hiding the truth on where they actually stand.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin