Abortion has been a passionate topic in the statewide races across Virginia this election season. But in the race for the 85th district, located in Virginia Beach, Del. Alex Askew, a Democrat, has made it personal in the worst, most awkward way. A mailer from Askew's campaigned sought to cast a negative spotlight on his opponent, Karen Greenhalgh, for volunteering with a crisis pregnancy center (CPC).
Askew's mailer about Greenhalgh's volunteer work with CPCs warns that "she even worked in a crisis pregnancy center, which is an anti-choice organization" and cited a study claiming that CPCs were "unethical." Such a study was authored by abortion providers, though, as it so turns out.
The larger point, though, is how personal the assistance that CPCs provide to women can be. Greenhalgh spoke to Townhall about what the issue means to her.
"As a victim of rape at an early age, I chose to work with women in crisis to provide assistance that I never received myself. My opponent has mischaracterized and attacked my work, attempting to use an issue that he does not understand as a political tool. Alex Askew has repeatedly demonstrated that he does not care about protecting victims. When it comes to the abortion issue, Askew would rather put me in a box, and label it to serve his interests, than address his own record of protecting rapists and other criminals over victims. Askew has chosen to stand with perpetrators. I have chosen to stand with their victims," Greenhalgh said.
Her campaign also pointed us to her own mailer and the statement made there:
Alex Askew has started a shameful line of attack against me. There is a good reason that I became involved working at crisis pregnancy centers.
When I was only fifteen years old I was a rape victim. I know how truly terrifying it can be to have nowhere to turn. My attacker told me he knew where I lived with my family and not to say a word. I had nowhere to go, no one to talk to, no options. I felt like my life had no value.
I had no choice except to live with the fear, the shame and guilt.
Years later I made a choice for myself, I chose to help other victims. My work at the crisis pregnancy center focused on helping women in similar circumstances and providing them with the resources I wish I had when I was 15.
It’s shameful and disgusting that a male politician like Alex Askew is discrediting my support for women in crisis, many who were rape victims like me with no where to go, no one to talk to. I will not allow him to weaponize an issue he knows nothing about, just to try and save his seat.
The truth is Alex Askew knows he is in trouble and would rather attack me than talk about his record of putting families at risk by pushing to defund the police, covering up the parole board scandal, releasing violent criminals and rapists early, and even opposing a measure to crack down on sexual assault in our schools.
Despicable policies like these create even more victims, and none of his lies will distract the residents of HD-85 from Alex Askew’s failed agenda.
Askew’s choice was to release violent criminals. My choice was and is to help their victims.
Shame on you Alex.
I just yesterday covered the "measure to crack down on sexual assault in our schools," which is House Bill 257, signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat. The law, which was approved and went into effect last year, leaves it up to the school district to decide if it will report misdemeanors to law enforcement.
Del. Askew also has the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia PAC, an organization that not only is pro-abortion but in favor of defunding the police. The group's endorsements of Virginia statewide candidates, especially Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, have made headlines. Last month, candidate Michelle Maldonado turned down their endorsement, emphasizing that while she agrees with the group on abortion, she is against defunding the police.
NARAL Pro-Choice has put out deceptive information about CPCs before to further a certain narrative about this resource.
Del. Askew won his last race 51.6 percent to 48.2 percent against Republican Rocky Holcomb in 2019.