Welcome back to our new, regular blog series, Virginia Political Pro(choice)files. In this segment, we highlight Virginia’s state politicians who support and fight for women’s reproductive rights while also drawing attention to politicians who are working to undermine the constitutional right to safe and legal abortion. To see how all General Assembly members stacked up in 2011, check out our Legislative Scorecard!
Political Pro(Choice)files: Edward Houck
As a politician with more than 25 years in office and with a solid pro-choice voting record, Senator Edward (Edd) Houck is a man who has faced numerous attacks for his commitment to reproductive rights and women’s health.
In February of this year, extremists opposed to a woman’s complete healthcare access even went so far as to accuse Senator Houck of “furthering the sex-slave industry” by a radical anti-choice blog because of his support for Planned Parenthood (which just so happens to provide healthcare and family planning services, often to people who could not afford them otherwise). While the subject of abortion is often inflammatory, Senator Houck has gotten more flack for his standing up for women’s health than many other pro-choiceVirginia legislators due to his position as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Health. With this position, Senator Houck votes on virtually every choice-related bill that is introduced into the state Senate.
In the 2011 session, an admittedly tough year for pro-choice advocates, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia gave Senator Houck a score of 100 percent for his perfect record of supporting choice. Senator Houck plays a pivotal role in protectingVirginia’s women by leading the Education and Health Committee to defeat restrictive, politically-motivated and dangerous anti-choice bills before they can be taken to a vote by the full Senate.
In 2010, when a bill meant to limit state funding of abortions in facilities receiving state funding was introduced to the Senate, Houck made it clear that he believed it was dangerous to reproductive health. In the midst of the debate, Houck responded to those pushing for passage: “When you try to tease out what [this bill] means, you get to UVA medical system, and that might mean a woman who comes in with medical condition and is pregnant, you would not be able to do an abortion in that regard, possibly putting her at jeopardy.” It is this kind of commitment to women’s health that makes Edd Houck a consistent, committed champion forVirginia women. He looks past misleading arguments made by anti-choice legislators and attempts to protect women’s health.
In the 2011 session, after two Senate Democrats voted with Republicans to pass legislation requiring any facility performing more than five first-trimester abortions per month to live up to the same regulations as hospitals, Houck spoke out publically, calling it a “terrible tragedy.”
Senator Houck remains a dedicated and tireless champion for women’s continued access to vital healthcare inVirginia.
It is important that we maintain such pro-choice champions in our General Assembly this November, to continue to protect reproductive choice in the Commonwealth.
For more voter information, check out the Virginia State Board of Elections website. Regardless of your residence, all Virginia voters should remember that the statewide general election will be held on November 8th.