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Terry McAuliffe's Extreme Stance on Abortion Is Something Which Must Be Addressed

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

When it comes to issues facing the gubernatorial Virginia election, abortion deserves to have more of a spotlight. Specifically, it's the abortion extremism of Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, and those who support his campaign, which needs to be addressed.


McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014-2018 has taken to bragging about his stance on abortion, specifically when it comes to being "a brick wall" on any regulations or restrictions against it. 

He used the phrase in October 2013, while on the campaign trail. The ad which mentions the "brick wall" line also included an exchange between McAuliffe and a woman, with McAuliffe saying "I would support stopping any restrictions," when asked "as governor, would you oppose any restrictions on my right to an abortion at any time?"

A September 25, 2013 blog post from then-president of the National Organization of Women, Terry O'Neill, mentioned that "Terry McAuliffe is providing a clear contrast to a candidate with a record of attacks on women’s rights," referring to Ken Cuccinelli.

As governor, McAuliffe vetoed legislation in 2016 and 2017 to defund Planned Parenthood, which performs more abortions than any other entity in the country. At a 2017 veto ceremony, McAuliffe used that "brick wall" line when referring to the Executive Mansion. Abortion advocates from Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, and Progress Virginia were present at the ceremony, as was Ralph Northam, the current governor of Virginia who was serving as the lieutenant governor at the time.


Months later, McAuliffe was granted the Mary Anne Rennolds Award by the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood. 

While accepting the award, McAuliffe tied abortion to the economy. "We are a different state today than we were three years ago," he said. "Women are treated with dignity and respect and that is how we’ve been able to create so many jobs, by being open and welcoming to everyone." 

McAuliffe also threatened to veto a 20-week ban on abortion, according to Alan Suderman with AP:

McAuliffe, a Democrat, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he wants to send a clear message to the Republican-controlled General Assembly not to “waste time” trying to be part of that effort.

The General Assembly’s 2017 legislative session starts next week and McAuliffe does not typically comment on proposed legislation until after it passes both chambers. But the governor said he needed to make clear to companies looking to invest in Virginia that the legislation had no hope of passage.

“I can’t sit back and have that sitting out the same time I am traveling the globe recruiting businesses to Virginia,” McAuliffe said, adding that he is going on an important recruiting trip this weekend. “If there’s something that would be damaging toward business, and to our image around the country and the globe, I’ll veto it, you bet I will.”

It appears McAuliffe has a pattern of associating abortion with being good for the economy, in addition to using that "brick wall" line.


It wasn't just the one blog post above. NOW is consistently extreme on abortion. One example is a 2015 blog post from Emily Imhoff denouncing a proposed federal 20-week ban. The "myths" to do with 20-week bans she seeks to refute are addressed using the most selective pieces of evidence, and are easily discredited.

As of 2021,18 states have passed 20-week abortion bans. By this stage, an unborn child can feel pain, and such bans consistently enjoy a plurality or majority support in numerous polls.

Research shows that most late-term abortions are performed for socioeconomic reasons, on healthy women pregnant with healthy children. 

An abortion at this stage is also more dangerous than those performed earlier in pregnancy.

The United States is one of seven countries which allows for elective abortions past 20-weeks.

Gov. Northam thrust late-term abortion and infanticide into the spotlight when he supported legislation from Del. Kathy Tran which, as Tran herself admitted, would allow for abortion when a woman is giving birth. In comments from January 2019, Northam said  that if born alive from an abortion, "the infant would be kept comfortable" and "resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired."

McAuliffe gave conflicting answers when asked about the legislation. What opposition he did have, from February 3, 2019, appears to be with regards to infanticide. "And I think Ralph misspoke on that," he said about Northam's remarks. On April 1, 2019, he indicated support for the legislation.


PolitiFact said he made a "full flop" on the bill.

The Virginia constitution prohibits governors from serving back to back terms, hence why McAuliffe is running again in 2021. 

In an NPR report by Ben Pavior from June 8, the night McAuliffe won the Democratic primary, the issue received a one-sentence mention: "The former entrepreneur and chair of the Democratic National Committee spent much of his term battling a Republican-led legislature on hot-button issues like abortion and gun rights."

McAuliffe is back to using the "brick wall" line again for 2021, in time for the primary and now general election. 

The Virginia chapter of NOW recently endorsed McAuliffe for governor. According to a press release published on June 29 by the August Free Press:


The political action committee of the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for Women has endorsed Terry McAuliffe for governor.

“Terry McAuliffe has the strongest record of accomplishments and the boldest agenda to support Virginia’s women, children, and all hard-working families. As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry fought Republican extremists in the legislature and stood firm against attacks on women’s reproductive health, the LGBTQ+ community, and commonsense gun safety laws,” said Connie Cordovilla, president of VA NOW and treasurer of VA NOW PAC.

“As we rebuild from this pandemic, we need a post-COVID economy that is inclusive, creates jobs, and lifts families up. As Virginia’s next governor, we know Terry will create economic opportunities for women and hard-working families, protect reproductive rights and access to health care, keep Virginia open and welcoming, champion gun violence prevention measures, protect voting rights, and reform our criminal justice system. That is why Virginia NOW PAC is proud to endorse him for governor,” Cordovilla said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects for all Virginians, particularly women, and we need to leverage this moment to create a stronger post-COVID economy that lifts every Virginian up. But that won’t happen if we don’t keep our Commonwealth open and welcoming,” McAuliffe said.

“As Virginia’s 72nd governor, I served as a brick wall in protecting women’s health care rights from extreme Republicans attacks. Extremist Trump-Republican Glenn Youngkin, whose divisive social views, particularly his anti-woman and anti-abortion agenda, are out-of-step with Virginia voters and put Virginia’s economic recovery and our financial future at risk.

“I have defeated Republican extremists before, and I am ready to do it again together with the help of VA NOW PAC,” McAuliffe said.


McAuliffe's campaign website showcases his support for abortion. An issues section titled "Protecting Women’s Rights and Ensuring Gender Equality" reads in part:

As Virginia’s next Governor, Terry will continue fighting for progressive policies to advance women’s rights and gender equality, particularly in light of a partisan, Republican-majority United States Supreme Court. First and foremost, that means passing an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia that permanently enshrines and codifies the protections of Roe v Wade in Virginia law.    


As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry served as a “brick wall” in protecting women’s health care rights from extreme Republicans attacks. He successfully halted the closing of women’s health clinics, keeping all of Virginia’s women health clinics open. He defended women’s access to health care by successfully reversing the restrictive regulations designed to force their closure. 

Terry vetoed all anti-women legislation passed by the General Assembly – including multiple bills that would have defund Planned Parenthood in Virginia...

Under Ralph Northam, Virginia saw the repeal of a ban on abortion coverage for carriers on state health exchange plans and a repeal of health and safety laws regulating abortion and abortion facilities. That Virginia passed such repeals, especially as a southern state, was hailed by abortion advocates.

Americans United for Life ranks Virginia as the 32nd most pro-life state. 


According to a campaign ad from Terry McAuliffe, as highlighted by Virginia Scope, Youngkin has supposedly not been forthcoming on his stance on abortion. Youngkin, however, has made it clear he is pro-life.

Making less than truthful claims about Youngkin is nothing new from McAuliffe. I recently highlighted how McAuliffe's ad claiming Youngkin praised him was rated as "mostly false" and noted to be "missing context."

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