What does yesterday’s election mean for choice?

By staff

Yesterday was one of the biggest elections for choice in Virginia in the past few years.

From 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. voters across the state went to the polls to vote on all 140 General Assembly seats.

At stake this year was the state Senate, which is currently mixed-choice. This means that when choice-related bills come to the floor of the Senate, we do not have a reliable pro-choice majority to defeat them. We saw the consequences of this situation in January with a 20-20 tie vote to approve new regulations singling out Virginia abortion providers – anti-choice Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling cast the deciding vote to approve the bill and Virginia now faces the strictest abortion regulations in the country. (PDF)

So where does yesterday’s election leave us?

As of this posting, one key Senate race remains too close to call. In Senate District 17, in the city of Fredericksburg and Orange, Spotsylvania, Culpeper, Louisa and Albermarle counties, staunchly anti-choice candidate Bryce Reeves is unofficially leading dedicated pro-choice champion Senator Edd Houck – by 86 votes. Senator Houck is entitled to a recount.

Whatever happens in Senator Houck’s race, next year’s Virginia state Senate will still not have a reliable pro-choice majority. Senators Charles Colgan (District 29) and Phil Puckett (District 38), who won their reelection bids, are mixed-choice and voted for several anti-choice bills in the 2012 General Assembly session. (PDF)

What is most distressing is what could happen to the Senate Committee on Education and Health where all choice-related bills go.

Currently Senator Houck is the chair of this committee, which has a majority of strong pro-choice champions. The committee is often the last chance in the General Assembly to stop dangerous anti-choice legislation from moving forward. What is uncertain at this point is how that committee could look next year.

The battle for women’s health in Virginia will continue to be hard-fought in the years ahead, and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, our activists and our allies will continue mobilizing and fighting government intrusion of women’s private medical decisions.

On that note, we wish to congratulate NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia PAC’s endorsed candidates who won their races yesterday.

In the House of Delegates, we congratulate:

  • Delegate Mark Keam, District 35
  • Delegate Ken Plum, District 36
  • Delegate David Bulova, District 37
  • Delegate Kaye Kory, District 38
  • Delegate Vivian Watts, District 39
  • Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, District 41
  • Delegate Mark Sickles, District 43
  • Delegate Scott Surovell, District 44
  • Delegate David Englin, District 45
  • Delegate Charniele Herring, District 46
  • Delegate Patrick Hope, District 47
  • Delegate Robert Brink, District 48
  • Alfonso Lopez, District 49
  • Delegate James Scott, District 53
  • Delegate David Toscano, District 57
  • Delegate Betsy Carr, District 69
  • Delegate Jennifer McClellan, District 71
  • Delegate Mamye BaCote, District 95

In the state Senate, we congratulate:

  • Senator John Miller, District 1
  • Senator Mamie Locke, District 2
  • Senator Ralph Northam, District 6
  • Senator Donald McEachin, District 9
  • Senator John Edwards, District 21
  • Delegate Adam Ebbin, District 30
  • Barbara Favola, District 31
  • Senator Janet Howell, District 32
  • Senator Mark Herring, District 33
  • Senator Dick Saslaw, District 35
  • Senator Toddy Puller, District 36
  • Senator Dave Marsden, District 37
  • Senator George Barker, District 39

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia PAC and our activists worked tirelessly in the last few months to protect and elect pro-choice champions. We look forward to continuing to work with our allies in 2012.

Stay tuned for further analysis of what the election results mean for choice over the coming days.

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