The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This Tuesday, Nov. 2, is the General Midterm Election in Virginia. Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and House of Delegates seats are on the ballot this year. Women’s reproductive rights are also on the ballot, making it ever so important to cast your vote in this election.
Women’s reproductive rights have been debated for quite a while in our country, but states like Texas have gone to the extremes to limit them recently. Texas government passed a six-week abortion ban and created the ability for civilians to sue anyone who helps a person obtain an abortion, awarding that person $10,000 if successful. Texas was able to do this because they have a Republican majority in their state legislature.
Progress has been made for women’s reproductive health in recent Virginia history. In 2020, with a Democratic majority in the state legislature, the Reproductive Health Protection Act (RHPA) was passed. It was Virginia’s first-ever proactive bill on safe, legal abortion. Additionally, it ended requirements that women receive ultrasounds and wait 24 hours before being able to receive an abortion.
Abortion has become so politicized even though it should be treated as an essential part of health care. It is a safe medical procedure, and when access to it is limited, it causes harm and disproportionately impacts people who are low-income. Restricting or banning abortions only stops safe abortions and results in death or injury that could be prevented by good sex education, widespread access to contraception and safe, legal abortion access.
It is likely that if the Republican nominee for governor, Glenn Youngkin, is elected, he will further restrict access to abortion in Virginia. Specifically, his campaign says he will repeal changes Democrats made to abortion laws in 2020 with the RHPA.
Planned Parenthood endorses Democratic candidates Terry McAuliffe for governor, Hala Ayala for lieutenant governor and Mark Herring for attorney general. They have pledged to support access to safe, legal abortion for Virginia citizens. Read more about former governor McAuliffe, his stance on other issues such as education, the economy, affordable health care and why he is running here.
The majority of Virginians support access to safe and legal abortions as an alternative to childbirth. We need to make sure that is heard by turning out in this election and voting for someone who will protect the right to choose and not repeal the progress that has been made in Virginia.
McAuliffe and Youngkin are polling neck and neck, so every vote will make a difference. Even if you do not fully support everything either party is doing, a vote for McCauliffe will be a vote to protect women’s reproductive rights.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., so if you have not already voted early or absentee, make sure you have a plan to vote on Tuesday. Check your polling place, registration status and voting history here. Set aside a time, secure a ride and bring the correct form of I.D. If you are in line by 7 p.m., you will get to vote!