Thanks to a recent post on BlueVirginia and Creigh Deeds’ Blog, we now know a little bit more about Bob McDonnell’s record as a state legislator prior to 1994. Apparently, on top of the more than 40 anti-choice, anti-women’s health bills that Mr. McDonnell patroned or co-patroned in his 17 years in office, there are some additional records that weren’t as easily found. They’re now being brought to light.
When Bob McDonnell became a delegate in 1991, one of his first votes was in support of HB563, a bill “to give health-care professionals who don’t want to dispense or prescribe abortion pills the right to refuse or decline. It was a bill to expand “the state’s ‘conscience clause,’ which allows doctors to refuse to perform surgical abortions, to also cover chemical abortions.” McDonnell voted to further the expanses of a conscience clause again in 2003, voting to pass HB1741, which was a bill to “allow any health care professional who is asked to dispense any birth control pill or other medication for the purpose of performing an abortion to invoke a conscience clause, under which the professional could decline to provide the service without fear of disciplinary or legal action.” (Richmond Times Dispatch, 02/13/02, and History of HB563, 2002 and The Washington Post, 02/01/03, and History of HB1741, 2003).
On top of these two early anti-birth control votes, one of McDonnell’s very first actions as a Delegate was to sponsor a resolution proposed by none other than Bob Marshall, the anti-choice zealot who even the far right often shuns for his extremism. The resolution, proposed in 1992, declared that Roe v. Wade was “Likely Soon to Be Overturned” and that the purpose of future anti-abortion statutes would be to “Protect Unborn Children.” HJR225, the Bob Marshall resolution, said that “the General Assembly will be called upon to again enact legislation proscribing or limiting abortions after Roe v. Wade is overturned[.]” This screams pre-emptive political agenda to us.
Yet another 2001 point worth mentioning is McDonnell’s feelings concerning emergency contraception and accessibility. In an article in the Virginia Pilot, McDonnell said emergency contraception was as “egregious” as an abortion in the ninth month of a pregnancy.
“Some people feel it’s less offensive because the child is less than one week old, but that doesn’t make it any less egregious than aborting a child in the ninth month,” said McDonnell in reference to emergency contraception, which is often called the morning-after pill. The Richmond Times-Dispatch also reported McDonnell speaking on the subject, ‘“This prevents the implantation of a human embryo,’ he said in a forceful floor speech. ‘Should we give any less protection to a child at two days than we do at nine months?’” (The Virginian-Pilot, 01/26/01, and Richmond Times-Dispatch, 02/02/01)
Bob may be trying to distance himself from his thesis, continuing to suggest those 93 pages were merely an academic exercise, but all of these legislation actions speak differently. His words, his writing, and his record all very clearly tell us his true motives and agenda. And that’s to harm people and reproductive rights.