A first glance at Tom Rust’s voting record on choice is a little confusing – he’s been all over the map. In 2005, he voted pro-choice 50% of the time, dwindling to 33% in 2006 . . . then a disappointing 25% in 2007. . . a sickly 20% in 2008 . . . and finally a pathetic 0% in 2009. The numbers don’t lie: Rust used to be somewhat of a moderate, but he’s become more and more anti-choice over time. But now that election time has rolled around, Rust, like Bob McDonnell, has been playing down his voting record and attempting to recast himself in a moderate’s clothes.
Back in 2002, Tom Rust voted in favor of allowing health care providers to refuse birth control to women. And in 2006, he voted for a Family Life Education bill that further pushed abstinence and would have included inaccurate information about contraception – and even claimed that unmarried sex was illegal! How does Tom Rust ever expect to reduce the number of abortions by blocking access to contraception and refusing to provide students with accurate information?
In 2007, Rust was on an anti-choice roll, voting for a budget amendment that prohibited Medicaid from funding abortion – even in cases of rape and incest. In 2007, he also voted to require abortion providers to offer anesthesia for fetuses after the 20th week, against the advice of most medical organizations, who believe that fetal anesthesia could compromise a woman’s health.
Some of the legislation he supported would have severely limited the availability of abortion in Virginia. He voted for HB 2648, a bill that was so broadly written that it could have threatened the very legality of abortion – and criminalized women who have them. That same year, he voted to require abortion clinics to meet completely unnecessary architectural standards. Redesigning clinics would have been so expensive that many, if not all, of Virginia’s abortion clinics would have been forced to close, harming not only women seeking abortion services but regular check-ups, exams, and prevention services.
By 2009, Rust has earned a 0% pro-choice rating from NARAL Virginia. A Washington Post poll last September found that 60% of Virginians believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases – which means that Tom Rust and Virginia voters have been moving in opposite directions. Rust’s anti-choice stance is far out of the mainstream.
Clearly, we can no longer cross our fingers, hold our breath, and hope that Tom Rust will occasionally vote for reproductive rights. This November, we have a chance to elect a candidate we can count on 100% of the time. NARAL Virginia is proud to support the candidacy of Stevens Miller – he’s a pro-choice candidate who supports preventive measures and access to safe, legal abortion. Virginia women don’t deserve Tom Rust’s ever-deteriorating record on choice – we deserve a candidate we can rely on, and Stevens Miller is the right person for the job!