In 2019, Virginia voters flipped the General Assembly to support reproductive freedom – in rejection of an anti-choice disinformation campaign that spread false and inflammatory lies.
This win completed the trajectory that Virginia has been on for several cycles, proving that the vast majority of Virginians believe that every woman should have the freedom and ability to control her body, life, and future.
The NIRH Action Fund has worked in Virginia throughout several election cycles (see below). In 2019, with the nation’s eyes on Virginia as a bellwether for 2020 elections, NIRH Action Fund partnered with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia to run a multi-layered campaign in key districts throughout the Commonwealth to educate and turn out pro-choice voters.
This electoral program focused on calling out the true agenda of anti-choice politicians and candidates — to ban abortion, criminalize doctors, and punish women — while drawing a contrast with candidates who believe that women should be able to control their bodies, lives, and futures.
The program included direct mail and an extensive ground operation including canvassing and phone banking, on behalf of the following victorious candidates:
- Delegate Hala Ayala (HD51), who has used her elected position to protect women’s health and ensure that abortion care remains safe, legal, and accessible;
- Delegate Kathy Tran (HD42), who has stood up for the proactive policies that Virginians need in order to make abortion more accessible and improve women’s lives across the Commonwealth;
- Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (HD31), who is a proven champion for reproductive freedom and stood strong for reproductive rights during her freshman term in the House of Delegates even in the face of adversity, often speaking out during the disinformation campaign launched by anti-abortion politicians earlier this year;
- Senate candidate Ghazala Hashmi (SD10), who challenged anti-choice incumbent Glen Sturdivant. Hashmi becomes the first Muslim person elected to the Virginia State Senate.
The NIRH Action Fund partnered with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia to take on some harder-to-win races as well. The following candidates were not victorious, but nonetheless challenged the entrenched and vociferously anti-woman candidates who should be made to account for their records:
- House candidate Sheila Bynum-Coleman (HD66) challenged anti-choice Kirk Cox, the entrenched Speaker of the House; this political program forced Cox to defend his long record of leading anti-abortion measures and spend down his massive war chest to defend his own seat, rather than lend support to fellow anti-choice candidates;
- House candidate Karen Mallard (HD84), challenged Delegate Glen Davis, one of the elected officials who has led efforts to ban abortion, criminalize doctors, and threaten women’s health in Virginia.
- Senate candidate Amanda Pohl (SD11), challenged sitting Senator Amanda Chase, whose record includes making it a felony for doctors to perform abortion and has stated that “it’s those who are naïve and unprepared that end up being raped,” in addition to denying rape survivors timely access to abortion care; going into 2020, Chase will not be able to evade her extremist record.