Old Dominion State senate races took the national stage Nov. 2 when a powerful anti-abortion political action committee launched an all-out assault on entrenched seven-term state Sen. Edd R. Houck (D.-17).
“Sen. Houck has a 100% pro-abortion voting record, jeopardizing the health of women and teens,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a Washington-based PAC, which normally restricts its endorsements to national candidates.
“As chairman of the Education and Health Committee, Sen. Houck has consistently prevented pro-life legislation from even reaching the floor for debate,” she said.
Houck is part of a slight majority of pro-abortion senators who have repeatedly crippled Virginia’s anti-abortion house and governor when it comes to pro-life legislation, she said.
“Defeating just two pro-abortion incumbents will change the senate and save thousands of unborn children,” she said.
Virginia’s strategic location near the nation’s capital makes these state senate races important, she said.
“Virginia is important because many think Virginia will decide the 2012 election,” said Tony Lee, HUMAN EVENTS political columnist.
“In local state elections, the abortion issue matters because you want to maximize the turnout. People aren’t usually interested in these elections, so any issue that can galvanize people to the polls is effective,” he said.
Dannenfelser said the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List has committed $25,000 against Houck’s reelection, including a combined radio, TV and mail campaign.
|Virginia State Sen. Edd R. Houck (D.-17)|
SBA exists to elect anti-abortionists, especially women, to Congress, according to the organization’s website, but SBA entered state elections on Oct. 26 to endorse Virginia senate candidates Caren Merrick (R.-31), Patricia Phillips (R.-33), Bryce Reeves (R.-17), and incumbent State Sen. Jill Vogel (R.-27).
The SBA president said in her Oct. 28 message to supporters, “The pro-abortion senate has defeated every common-sense pro-life measure from enacting parental consent laws, to allowing money raised from pro-life license plates to go toward crisis pregnancy centers.”
Virginia had more than 27,000 abortions reported by various factors, according to the 2011 “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” (MMWR) produced by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report used 2007 statistics.
Virginia’s abortion rate was in the top 10 of the reporting states that year when listed by race, gestational age, and age of mother, according to the MMWR charts.
Most Virginia abortions were performed on women with no previous live births: although 120 Virginians under 15 years of age had abortions, college-aged students made up the plurality of the aborting population, according to the report. Women ages 20 to 24 had 33.4% of Virginia’s abortions. Women ages 25 to 29 had another 25.5%, the report said.
Eighty-two per cent of Virginia’s abortions were performed on unmarried women, according to the report. Non-Hispanic children comprised 89.5% of the aborted.
All states do not necessarily report the full number of abortions to the CDC to produce the MMWR, according to the CDC website.
Virginia, California and several other states do not require reports of uninsured abortions, causing a discrepancy in any studies regarding the effects of abortion on the underprivileged, said Dr. Joe DeCook, an obstetric gynecologist who works with the American Association of Pro-life ObGyns.
“Abortion will never be illegal,” said Dr. Patrick Whelan, a pediatric rheumatologist who leads the Catholic Democrats, a Boston-based advocacy group.
“It’s just, from a practical standpoint, clear that it never would be—and we know that many countries around the world where it is illegal the abortion rate is actually higher than in places like the United States,” he said.
“So Brazil, for instance, where abortion’s completely illegal, the abortion rate is a third higher than we have here in the U.S.,” he said.
Dannenfelser said she disagrees: The legal fight is worth fighting.
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