December 6, 2023

Two candidates in a key Fredericksburg-area Virginia Home seat confronted off just lately in a energetic debate that introduced Republican Lee Peters’ views on banning abortion to the forefront. Within the discussion board with Democratic candidate Josh Cole, Peters dedicated to the 15-week ban and appeared to query whether or not everybody is definitely desirous about “ladies’s rights.”

Reproductive rights – an important situation on this yr’s Basic Meeting elections – acquired an excessive amount of consideration on the occasion, leaving little doubt as to Peters’ willingness to ban and criminalize abortion.

If Republicans win full management of Virginia’s legislature this yr, Gov. Glenn Youngkin has pledged to ban abortion at 15 weeks, and he has beforehand said that he’ll “fortunately and gleefully” signal any invoice limiting or banning abortion rights.

Peters makes no point out of his place on reproductive rights on his marketing campaign web site, though he touts the endorsement of Youngkin and different Republicans who oppose and have voted in opposition to abortion.

However in his debate in opposition to Cole, Peters made his help for abortion bans clear.

Peters not solely outright mentioned that he’ll help a 15-week abortion ban, however he additionally downplayed the significance of ladies’s rights in November’s elections.

Whereas responding to the moderator’s query about what his highest precedence could be if he will get elected, Peters advised the viewers, “All people isn’t involved or nervous about ladies’s rights, though there are numerous, many ladies who’re. Some folks fear about public security. Some folks fear about their colleges.”

A Washington Publish-Schar College ballot from the spring means that Peters’ positions are opposite to what most Virginians need. The ballot finds that the majority Virginia voters oppose the concept of tightening entry to abortions, which presently enable the process by the second trimester. General, 34% mentioned the state’s abortion legal guidelines ought to “stay as they’re,” and 41% say they need to be “much less strict;” simply 17% say abortion legal guidelines within the commonwealth ought to be made “extra strict.”

A Roanoke School ballot from August discovered that simply 12% of Virginians help a complete abortion ban, whereas 86% consider abortion ought to be authorized in all (36%) or some (50%) instances.

Virginia Home District 65, which incorporates the town of Fredericksburg and a part of the encircling counties, is taken into account a must-win for Democrats as they search to win a majority within the GOP-controlled Home of Delegates in November.

Democrat Josh Cole served one time period within the Home earlier than dropping reelection in 2021. He’s working in a newly drawn district in opposition to a brand new opponent, Republican Lee Peters, an area legislation enforcement officer.

Throughout the debate, Cole mentioned that he believes that probably the most urgent situation the Basic Meeting will face subsequent yr is “completely ladies’s rights.” In an announcement launched by the marketing campaign after the candidates confronted off, Cole mentioned, “We lastly know the place Lee Peters stands: he desires to criminalize a choice that ought to be between a girl and her physician. I’m working to cease Lee Peters’ and the MAGA Republicans’ assault on ladies’s rights. We is not going to transfer Virginia backwards.”

  • Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler is Dogwood’s chief political correspondent. She can be the nation’s foremost professional in state politics with nearly 20 years of expertise in statehouse machinations, and her comedian ebook assortment might be greater than yours.