By NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia guest blogger Laura
We’re less than two weeks away from one of the biggest elections for reproductive choice in Virginia in years. On Tuesday, November 8, Virginians will go to the polls to vote on all 140 General Assembly seats. All this week on the blog, we are spotlighting pro-choice candidates of the day in key races across the state, so you know who will stand up for women’s rights and health in Richmond and who we’re working to help elect this fall!
We begin today by turning to Senate District 31, which contains portions of Arlington County and heads west along the Potomac through Fairfax County to eastern Loudoun.
In this race, Barbara Favola is the pro-choice candidate.
Virginia Senate District 31’s seat has long been held by pro-choice champion Senator Mary Margaret Whipple. In fact, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia honored Senator Whipple earlier this year with its inaugural Defender of Choice award. This year, Senator Whipple is not seeking reelection – leaving the seat up for grabs in a critical year for women’s health.
Barbara Favola supports access to safe, legal abortion and the protection of women’s health. She also opposes the burdensome, unnecessary targeted regulations passed earlier this year that single out first-trimester abortion providers. They require medically-irrelevant and unnecessary structural changes, such as wider doors and hallways, that are not required of other doctors’ offices performing similar outpatient procedures and are only designed to make it more difficult for abortion providers to operate. If imposed as currently drafted, these regulations could leave Virginia women without access to vital health care.
Favola has been a member of the Arlington County Board – including terms as vice chairman and chairman – for the last 14 years, and also previously served on the Virginia Board of Health, as appointed by former Gov. Tim Kaine. In addition to supporting reproductive rights and health, she supports equal rights for Virginians regardless of sexual orientation. As a life-long advocate for women’s health and well-being, she has pushed to make mammograms affordable and combat domestic violence.
Her opponent is anti-choice candidate Caren Merrick. Although Merrick has claimed she has “no vested interest in [these new abortion regulations],” her endorsements by anti-choice state officials (Governor Bob McDonnell and extreme anti-choice Delegate Barbara Comstock) and her refusal to stand against politically-motivated anti-choice laws show that she would continue to support the McDonnell-Cuccinelli agenda in Richmond.
Virginia needs as many committed, serious pro-choice lawmakers as we can get, especially in the currently mixed-choice state Senate. We have seen a spate of attacks – sometimes successful – against women’s health in the past two years. Redistricting has created a new landscape and it is critical that we protect our pro-choice candidates as well as send new pro-choice champions to Richmond.
With Election Day fast approaching, 2011 will prove a critical year for the future of reproductive rights and health policy in our state. In a year in which anti-choice politicians have been steadily working to advance their agenda, Virginia’s pro-choice voters must ensure their voices are heard and that women’s health is protected.
Barbara Favola will be a strong pro-choice leader in Richmond. Learn how you can get involved to get out the pro-choice vote by visiting our Elections page. Make sure to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 8 and remind all your pro-choice friends to do the same!
By NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia PAC staff. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.