Virginia’s Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, has promised that he will veto a piece of legislation attempting to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. McAuliffe argues that the bill would hurt the state’s image because abortion is a “socially divisive” topic.
The bill has not yet passed the Virginia legislature, only recently being proposed by a Republican delegate in the state’s General Assembly. Measures such as this have passed across the country, most recently in Ohio. And the U.S. House of Representatives passed a similar measure last year, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This bill, like the others, is based on scientific findings that unborn children can feel pain at 20 weeks.
McAuliffe is publicly opposing the Virginia bill prior to its passage because, he says, he doesn’t want Virginia’s General Assembly to “waste time” attempting to pass it and because it might negatively interfere with his efforts to bring more businesses into the state.
“I can’t sit back and have that sitting out the same time I am traveling the globe recruiting businesses to Virginia,” McAuliffe said this week. The Virginia governor is traveling for one such recruiting trip this coming weekend, and thus believed it necessary to condemn the pro-life bill before his meetings. “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.”
But it is unclear how exactly the 20-week abortion restriction would dissuade businesses from coming to Virginia. McAuliffe also failed to provide evidence that this measure is unpopular with Virginians or is “socially divisive.” In fact, the most recent polls reveal that almost two-thirds of Americans favor a 20-week abortion ban, including nearly 80 percent of Millennials. And a poll from last summer showed that 78 percent of people favor limiting abortion in some capacity, in many cases to the first trimester only. If anything, the tide of public opinion is surely turning in favor of abortion limitations.
An argument for “women’s rights” or the freedom to choose might not be too convincing either, but at least it would have some basis in typical pro-abortion argumentation. But it is inaccurate to label the 20-week ban “divisive” without acknowledging broad support for the measure, and it is disingenuous to claim the bill could in any way jeopardize Virginia’s business prospects.