Welcome to our new, regular blog series, Virginia Political Pro(choice)files. In this segment, we highlight Virginia’s state politicians who support and fight for women’s reproductive rights while also drawing attention to politicians who are working to undermine the constitutional right to safe and legal abortion. To see how all General Assembly members stacked up in 2011, check out our Legislative Scorecard!
Virginia Political Pro(choice)files Part 1: Senator Mary Margaret Whipple
Throughout her career representing the 31st district, Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, D-Arlington, maintained a solid record voting to protect women’s health. In February of this year, Senator Whipple announced that, after 15 years in office, she would not run for re-election to the Virginia State Senate.
Her clear passion for women’s rights throughout her time in Richmond is why NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia will honor Senator Whipple with our Defender of Choice Award this Saturday, June 4th at our inaugural Power of Choice event at the Arlington Arts Center.
Senator Whipple was chief patron or co-patron of at least six different bills advocating for reproductive rights and the improvement of women’s health services in Virginia throughout her tenure. These bills include the Birth Control Protection Act and a successful bill creating the “Trust Women, Respect Choice” license plate.
She also has a long history of opposing anti-choice measures. Just this year, Senator Whipple gave a heartfelt speech on the Senate floor while fighting against Senate Bill 924, a bill that forces women’s health centers performing five or more first-trimester abortions per month to be regulated as a category of hospital. Despite Senator Whipple’s efforts, this politically-motivated bill passed. Senator Whipple recognized the bill discriminates against low-income women, who could now be forced to travel long distances to obtain safe, legal abortions. She stated during the debates, “This does nothing to end abortions. It is purely discriminatory. It makes my heart sick and I hope that each of us will think in our own conscience about what we are doing today.”
NARAL Pro-choice Virginia expresses sincere thanks and gratitude to Senator Whipple for her constant support of women’s continued access to reproductive health care. So please, join us this Saturday as we recognize Senator Whipple’s tireless efforts to support reproductive rights in Virginia.