This is the first of a series of posts that will highlight the records of anti-choice incumbents in the House of Delegates. We hope reading about their records will inspire you to take action and help us elect pro-choice candidates instead!
Would you go to a physician who puts politics ahead of his patients?
No, and you certainly wouldn’t want him making important, life-changing decisions about women’s reproductive rights on your behalf. That’s what makes Delegate John O’Bannon (R-73)’s eight years of service in the House of Delegates so alarming.
Delegate O’Bannon is quick to remind voters that he is the only physician in the House of Delegates. However, when he enters the General Assembly building, he apparently forgets about commonsense, commonground solutions that would enable women to prevent unintended pregnancy, bear healthy children, and choose safe and legal abortion. Instead, he chooses to play politics with women’s lives, consistently voting against measures to protect women’s health. As a result, for the past two years, Del. O’Bannon earned a reprehensible 0% rating on NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s scorecard.
This year, Del. O’Bannon voted against HB2373 in the House Committee on Health, Welfare, and Institutions. HB2373 would have required any pharmacy that, as a matter of policy, refuses to fill a legal prescription for contraception to to place a conspicuous notice as close as possible to the pharmacy counter that states, in both English and Spanish, “THIS PHARMACY WILL NOT FILL OR REFILL BIRTH CONTROL PRESCRIPTIONS.”
On top of this, Del. O’Bannon voted in favor of several amendments to the state budget that would have restricted much needed reproductive healthcare services to women across the state (see Budget Item 4-5.04#1h, Budget Item 4-5.04#2). Particularly egregious is the fact that the budget amendments Del. O’Bannon supported would have directly and negatively impacted low-income women who, in this economy, are in desperate need of low-cost health care options.
As a physician, one would assume Del. O’Bannon would understand the dangers of government involvement in the private, personal medical decisions of women and families. Unfortunately, Del. O’Bannon has chosen instead to spend the past eight years putting politics above women’s health.
But this year, voters in the 73rd district have an opportunity to elect a pro-choice candidate instead. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia PAC has endorsed Tom Shields, a faculty member at the Jepsen School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, and fully supports his efforts to unseat Delegate O’Bannon this November (see our press release here). If you’re as appalled as we are by O’Bannon’s votes against reproductive rights and health, contact the Shields campaign today and see how you can help!