After his party largely downplayed its desire to eliminate abortion rights in Virginia in recent years, Virginia Delegate Bob Thomas (R) admitted that the real goal is to win back the governor’s mansion and a narrow majority in the legislature to do just that.
In recent weeks, lawmakers in Georgia enacted clearly unconstitutional legislation to almost completely eliminate the right to choose whether to have an abortion. The new law prohibits the vast majority of abortions after a physician can first detect cardiac activity — which can occur as early as six weeks’ gestation, well before many people even know about their pregnancies.
Though the United States Supreme Court made clear in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Texas that restrictions like this violate constitutional rights, Georgia is one of several states with governments attempting to test whether the new more conservative majority on the high court will overturn its precedents. Legislators in Alabama just passed an even more extreme abortion ban, prohibiting almost all abortions at all times.
In a radio interview with conservative host John Fredericks last week — flagged by American Bridge 21st Century — Thomas was asked whether near-total abortion bans like the one just enacted in Georgia go to far. He said they do not and that if the Republicans can win back the governorship and hold the legislature, they will bring such a law to Virginia.
“I don’t believe it’s too extreme,” Thomas said. “I think the problem we have here in Virginia is we have a Democrat [sic] governor. We’ve had one for a decade now. And if we’re ever to take the tide back and and start putting some of those laws in Virginia, we have to find candidates who can win in blue areas of the state.”
“I would love to see Virginia move that way but we have to have a governor who’s willing to sign these things. So we have to make some real progress in the next two years.”
Republicans hold a narrow 51 to 49 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates and a similar 21 to 19 majority in the state Senate. All 120 seats are up this November. A successor to Gov. Ralph Northam (D) will be elected in November 2021, as Virginia does not allow its governors to serve two terms in a row.
Polls and recent statewide elections have made clear that Virginia is a staunchly pro-choice state. A February poll found that just 34% of Virginians want stricter abortion laws and nearly a fifth would actually like to see fewer restrictions.
Thomas did not immediately respond to a ThinkProgress query about his abortion ban plans.