RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Republicans stepped up their criticism this week of the rhetoric being used by their Democratic opponents in abortion-focused messaging in this year’s critical legislative elections.
A recent flurry of Democratic-sponsored ads and mailers in battleground districts expected to determine political control of the General Assembly have warned that Republicans would use a newfound legislative majority to ban abortion, including in cases where the pregnancy resulted from rape or a mother’s life was at risk. Virginia, currently under divided political control, now allows elective abortions in the first and second trimesters and is the only Southern state that has not implemented new restrictions since the end of Roe v. Wade.
In their messaging, Democrats have cited recent strict bans enacted in other GOP-led states, along with Republican candidates’ legislative records, past public statements and news articles, to bolster their claims.
Republicans, who are largely campaigning on GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed ban on abortions after 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, say their opponents are misrepresenting those sources or candidates’ past statements in an exploitative effort to drive turnout.