By: Katharine Donohoe, Development and Events Intern
As the election continues to draw near, let’s revisit some of the actions that have shaped Mark Obenshain, the Republican candidate for Attorney General, into the politician he currently is. His record is, quite frankly, alarming. In 2009, Obenshain, introduced House Bill 962 which would have criminalized miscarriage by requiring women to report a miscarriage within 24 hours if not in the presence of a medical professional. It was detailed that ‘fetal remains’ were to be handed over to police and failure to comply with said bill would have resulted in up to a year’s jail time and a $2500 fine. After a public backlash, Obenshain withdrew the proposed legislation.
Let’s put this in perspective for a moment. As a state senator, Mark Obenshain aimed to criminalize miscarriage and the failure to report it, compounding the heartache and tragic nature of it for the mother and her family or partner. What seemed especially frightening about this bill in particular is how Obenshain tried to detach women from their bodies and what happened.
A recently released video by Mark Herring’s campaign show the Neckel Family of Leesburg react to Obenshain’s proposed bill:
This is not Obenshain’s only foray into scarily conservative legislation; he also co-patroned a ‘personhood’ bill in 2011 that would have outlawed abortion and many types of common birth control in order to ‘constitutionally guarantee rights of unborn children’. Mark Obenshain also deemed the Virginia Senate and House proposed bills for transvaginal ultrasounds prior to abortion ‘common sense legislation’.
Furthermore, when Mark Obenshain was a member of James Madison University’s Board of Visitors, he took it upon himself to advocate for an end of the availability of emergency contraception at the on-campus student health center. As a recent graduate of James Madison, I find it absurd that Mark Obenshain focused his attention on that particular issue, given the fact that the student body is approximately 60% female. While that’s not to say every female student at JMU is ardently pro-choice, how can that majority be conveniently overlooked in the quest to push a personal agenda? Am I supposed to believe this man knows exactly what female college students need in terms of their personal, confidential health choices? Riiiight.
Mark Obenshain’s record speaks volumes to the sort of choices and causes he could further as Virginia’s Attorney General. It is clear he does not have the best interest of women and their autonomy in mind; Mark Obenshain’s top priority is restricting women’s rights, health choices, and personal medical decisions. Have you registered to vote yet?