By Madelyn Schneider
Along with the Fourth of July comes barbeques, fireworks, and a likely highly-anticipated long weekend. Here at NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, we value rest, relaxation, and quality time with our friends and family just as much as anyone else. However, right now, we also have a job to do. On a holiday where we celebrate our country’s freedom and independence, it is also important that we keep our attention on our current fight for reproductive freedom and independence.
Lately NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has been in the midst of carefully reviewing the records of candidates for elected office in Virginia in November. Just this week, we endorsed another round of candidates for the Virginia house of Delegates. These individuals are working directly in our communities to make sure that our rights and freedoms are not only protected, but advanced.
Last Thursday, we also endorsed Justin Fairfax for Lieutenant Governor. We now have endorsed an incredibly strong and dedicated full ticket. In addition to Justin, we are supporting Ralph Northam for Governor and Mark Herring for Attorney General. These three candidates have been long-time fighters for women and families and are dedicated to securing the rights we all deserve.
All three of these candidates are running against vehemently anti-choice individuals:
- Ralph Northam’s opponent, Ed Gillespie, has stated outright that he would “like to see abortion be banned” and has remained completely silent about the newly released Senate health care bill.
- Justin Fairfax’s opponent, Jill Vogel, personally introduced legislation that would require women seeking an abortion to obtain an invasive and medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound.
- Mark Herring’s opponent, John Adams, personally lobbied the Supreme Court on behalf of Republican senators in the Hobby Lobby case, which would allow employers to control the birth control decisions of their employees.
And under the distinctly anti-woman Trump/Pence administration, we can only expect Gillespie, Vogel, and Adams to take even more radical anti-choice stances.
But there are a lot of reasons to be hopeful about the future of reproductive rights in Virginia. The candidates we have endorsed are tireless champions for our rights, and their records very clearly demonstrate that pro-choice policies are a priority, not an afterthought. That being said, they won’t be elected without some hard work.
As a summer intern at the office, I have only been here for a few weeks and already my weekends have been filled with canvassing, tabling at farmer’s markets, and keeping up with our social media presence (make sure you’re following us on Twitter and Facebook!) And while that may not sound like the most glamourous way to spend a day off, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to contribute at such an important time in Virginia’s history. Until we are all granted full autonomy over our bodies, here at NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, we will use ours to knock doors, make calls, speak, protest, and resist.
Happy Independence Day. This year, let’s make sure we continue to fight for the ideals of freedom in every sense of the word – especially reproductive freedom.