Editorial: Todd Gilbert Really Wants To Restrict Women’s Rights in Virginia

By Brandon Jarvis

Republican Majority Leader Todd Gilbert seems to be focused on restricting the rights of women in Virginia. Gilbert was the main voice behind the attack on Del. Kathy Tran earlier this year after she introduced a bill that would protect women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions. 

Gilbert forcefully pushed back on the bill in a clear ambush that was filmed in high definition somehow. Regardless, Tran and the Democrats failed to see it heading their way and took a heavy hit in the media. 

Virginians are now watching as other Republican-led states across the south and we are seeing women’s rights be stripped away from them. The Human Life Protection Act in Alabama that passed this year, IN 2019, essentially enacted complete bans abortions across the state. Georgia also just passed a law banning abortions after the fetus is 6 weeks old, around the time doctors can find the first heartbeat.

As these states pursue these far-right conservative attacks on women, the GOP leadership in Virginia has made it one of their top campaign messages to do the same. Majority Leader Gilbert sent out an email today trying to rally his pro-life base by calling for Democrats to “renounce” women’s rights. 

Gilbert said today:

“Virginia and the nation as a whole were horrified earlier this year when Democrat Del. Kathy Tran introduced a bill that, in her own words, would allow abortion until the moment of birth. They were further horrified when Governor Northam not only agreed with her, but virtually every state-level Democrat in Virginia did as well,” Gilbert said.

“It is my sincere hope that Democrats will take this opportunity to renounce their support of abortion up until the moment of birth, and join Republicans in our recognition that even 5 minutes before birth, a baby represents a human life worthy of respect and protection,” he added.

Gilbert claims that he is sending this email because Beto O’Rourke’s answer when he was asked a tense question about abortion in South Carolina.

Excerpt:

“You were at a town-hall meeting just like this in Cleveland and someone asked you specifically about third-trimester abortions, and you said that’s a decision left up to the mother,” a young man told O’Rourke in the first question of the event. 

“I was born September 8, 1989,” he added, “and I want to know if you think on September 7, 1989, my life had no value.”

“Of course I don’t think that,” he replied. “And of course I’m glad that you’re here. This is a decision that neither you, nor I, nor the United States government should be making. That’s a decision for the woman to make. We want her to have the best possible access to care and to a medical provider,” O’Rourke said, before referring to the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade as the “settled law of the land.”

“I don’t question the decisions that a woman makes,” he added. “Only a woman knows what she knows, and I want to trust her with that.”

Majority Leader Gilbert has made it clear that he will try and use the darkest tactics possible to restrict the rights of women in Virginia. He has also made it clear that he believes this is the best tactic for Republicans to keep their majority in the General Assembly.  I have lived in the state my entire life, and I know that the majority of Virginians are better than this and can see through these lies and exaggerations to realize that the GOP is scared of losing and has resorted to the lowest levels possible to win. 

Vote November 5th.