In the Democratic primary for governor of Virginia, it’s a race to the bottom as a pair of candidates try to prove who is more radical in his support for abortion.
The two hopefuls, incumbent Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and one-term former Congressman Tom Perriello, are attacking each other for not supporting abortion enough.
Perriello, a Bernie Sanders disciple, is apologizing profusely for voting in favor of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, a 2009 amendment to an early version of Obamacare that would have banned taxpayer funding of abortions through Obamacare. Sixty-three other Democrats voted in favor of the amendment (which didn’t actually make the final version of Obamacare).
Perriello says he was trying to keep a pledge to his rural congressional district to keep abortion funding out of health care reform. He now says “[i]t was a bad pledge and a bad vote.” He told the Huffington Post that he has always supported abortion, but has “evolved” to support taxpayer funding of abortion because not funding it creates inequality — or something. And he’s pledged to stand for “reproductive justice.”
Northam, a pediatric doctor, is apologizing for voting for President George W. Bush — who, according to Perriello, was “the most anti-choice president in American history” — in 2000 and 2004. When Northam was first elected to office in 2008, he was a fairly moderate Democrat, and Republicans even tried to convince him to switch parties. But as he became a rising star in the Democrat Party, he abandoned all semblance of moderateness and is seeking to bolster his far-left credentials. Northam says he was just a simple doctor back in the Bush era, and voted for Bush because he was “apolitical.”
As the race has heated up, a wealthy Perriello supporter wrote a disturbing letter to the editor of The Roanoke Times explaining that she gave $500,000 to Perriello because she herself was the result of an unplanned pregnancy and her mother should have been able to abort her more easily.
And Northam has been endorsed by NARAL, and he spoke at a February rally for Planned Parenthood of Virginia where he trotted out clichés and accused pro-lifers of being anti-woman.
A majority of Virginians, meanwhile, support a 20-week abortion ban and other common sense restrictions on abortion. Whichever Democrat emerges from the primary will be radical on abortion, and the Republican nominee would do well to make him answer for it to Virginia voters.
Photo credit: Virginia Guard Public Affairs/Center for American Progress via Flickr