Richmond, VA – This afternoon, Delegate Rick Morris (R-Carrollton) took to the House floor to unleash a barrage of insults aimed at Virginia women and advocates for racial and reproductive justice, comparing abortion to slavery and denigrating the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Delegate Morris’s remarks are available online here: http://act.progressva.org/go/1378?ak_proof=1&t=2&akid=.15749.GfRP0D
Advocates for Virginia women and families immediately condemned Delegate Morris, calling his remarks “dangerous” and “degrading”:
“Delegate Morris’ comments are insulting and frankly disturbing,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “Not only do his comments show a stunning lack of respect for the millions of Americans impacted by slavery, but this is yet another example of the sort of dangerous rhetoric that demonizes women, spurs hate, and incites violence. As a core, fundamental value, when a Virginia woman makes the decision to have an abortion she deserves respect – not shame or judgment perpetrated by out-of-touch lawmakers. Delegate Morris owes all Virginia women an immediate apology.”
“It is both disappointing and disconcerting that in the opening days of the legislative session House Republicans chose to focus on extremist politics and attack Planned Parenthood patients and supporters,” said Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. “For nearly a century, Planned Parenthood has provided high quality, low cost medical care. In Virginia, Planned Parenthood health centers served more than 22,000 patients last year alone. However, political extremist continue to attack Planned Parenthood and attempt to block Virginia women from receiving the full range of reproductive care including safe and legal abortion. Despite the extreme rhetoric and attacks, our doors will stay open and we will provide the health care all Virginians need, no matter what.”
“Women of color, low-income people, LGBTQ people, young parents, and immigrants are too often demonized and marginalized by politicians,” said Margie Del Castillo, Virginia Senior Field Coordinator for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “Delegate Morris’s comments diminish the activism and leadership of brave activists who are striving to change the status quo. Women of color can speak for ourselves about our own experiences and right to access reproductive health care.”
“Women’s rights are human rights,” said Progress Virginia executive director Anna Scholl. “Every woman, no matter her race or income level, deserves access to comprehensive reproductive health services including safe and legal abortion. Delegate Morris’s outrageous comments only further stigmatize women who choose to plan their pregnancies and further illustrate why private health decisions should be between a woman, her family, and her physician.”
Delegate Morris’s remarks only underscored ongoing attacks on women’s health care access in the 2016 General Assembly. Just this week, members of the House of Delegates filed two new abortion ban proposals to complement the personhood bills filed earlier.