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What a difference an election makes.
In November, Virginia voters made it clear that, on many levels, they’d had enough of radical Democrats’ agenda — including Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe’s support for abortion on demand, which he touted frequently on the campaign trail and in millions of dollars’ worth of ads. Pro-life voters turned out in numbers great enough to deliver the margin of victory, with exit polls showing 8 percent of voters named abortion as their top issue, and those voters swung toward Republican Glenn Youngkin by 17 points.
It took persistence, but the commonwealth finally has pro-life leadership in Richmond. Now-Gov. Youngkin, Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares are wasting no time getting to work for Virginia’s women and children.
In stark contrast to his predecessor Northam, who spent Good Friday of all days signing legislation to expand abortion, roll back informed consent protections for women and even allow personnel who aren’t doctors to carry out abortions, Youngkin has outlined his pro-life policy commitments — including advocating legislation to limit late-term abortions when unborn children can feel pain and working to stop taxpayer-funded abortions — and will draw upon faith, science and public consensus to safeguard the vulnerable.
Before even setting foot in the governor’s residence, Youngkin brought longtime pro-life leader Kay Coles James, a native Virginian who previously served as president of the Heritage Foundation, onto his transition team. And in one of his first acts as governor, Youngkin appointed Angela Sailor chief diversity, opportunity and inclusion officer. Among the responsibilities of the office, she is tasked with working to eliminate disparities in prenatal care and being “an ambassador for unborn children.”
It’s not surprising that this historically diverse administration would prioritize inclusivity for all Virginians, born and unborn. Diversity has been a hallmark of the pro-life movement from the beginning — when it was led by courageous pioneers such as Mildred Jefferson, the first African American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School — to today, when the sea of faces flooding the nation’s capital each year for the March for Life includes thousands of people of all ages and every race and creed from all over the country. Fittingly, Youngkin, Miyares and Earle-Sears all tweeted their messages of support for the pro-life movement the day of the march, the largest annual demonstration in the United States for the human rights cause that unites us.
That same day, Miyares filed a motion urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion limit and return the right to set abortion policy to the people of each state and their elected representatives. The motion reverses the Northam administration’s stance in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case in which the court will address the constitutionality of pre-viability limits on abortion.
The significance is enormous. The court’s prior rulings put us in the company of a small handful of nations like China and North Korea that allow late-term abortion up to birth, well after unborn children feel pain. That status quo and the Democratic Party agenda are at odds with the views of 71 percent of Americans who want limits on abortion.
Now the court could finally remove itself from policymaking decisions about abortion that rightly belong in the arena of democracy. Every state and Congress would then be able to proceed with a debate that the court froze in time 50 years ago, to find consensus and to allow the will of the people to enter the law.
Our commonwealth should be no exception. The voters who decisively rejected late-term abortion in the last election deserve to have their voices heard again and again during the messy but vital consensus-building process that lies ahead. Under the pro-life Youngkin administration, it looks like spring has arrived in Virginia. I hope lawmakers and aspiring candidates nationwide will take note of their leadership and successes so far.