Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe claimed that if his Republican challenger, Glenn Youngkin, wins the election on November 2, women’s lives will be “at risk” and doctors will get “put in jail” because Youngkin will sign an abortion law similar to the Texas version. McAuliffe said this despite Youngkin’s own claim that he would not sign such a law.
“Women today are coming to Virginia because they cannot get an abortion in Texas,” McAuliffe claimed. Speaking of Youngkin, the Democrat said, “He’s going to bring that here. Women’s lives are going to be put at risk. Doctors are going to be put in jail. … Women’s lives in danger. It will be crippling to our economy.”
McAuliffe also repeated claims about undercover video of Youngkin that a liberal activist released in July.
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“He got caught on tape saying he would go on the offense, go on the offense to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood,” the Democrat said of his Republican opponent. “Every woman in this audience ought to pay attention to what I’m about to say,” McAuliffe said. “Now, with a Trump 6-3 Supreme Court, abortions are over in this country. This is no longer a talking point. The Texas law is law.”
After a video interview with Fox News on Saturday, Youngkin responded to McAuliffe’s accusations on the issue of abortion.
“He honestly is making up a candidate,” Youngkin told Fox News. “Everything he says deserves ‘four Pinnochios’ and ‘Pants on Fire,’” the Republican added, mentioning the worst possible fact-check ratings from The Washington Post and PolitiFact.
In the first debate with McAuliffe back in September, Youngkin said he would not sign the Texas abortion bill.
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“I would not sign the Texas bill today,” Youngkin said. “As I’ve said through this entire campaign, I’m pro-life. I believe in exceptions in the case of rape and incest and when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. But the Texas bill also is unworkable and confusing. … What I have said is that I do believe that a pain threshold bill legislation would be appropriate.”
Youngkin’s campaign has opposed taxpayer funding for abortion and opposed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s comments about not extending care to unwanted babies who survive abortion. He has suggested he would sign a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks gestation, when a baby can feel pain but he has not taken the kind of strong stances that McAuliffe suggested.
Pro-life organizations and leaders including Susan B. Anthony List, National Right to Life, Family Research Council Action, the Virginia Society for Human Life PAC, and Penny Nance have endorsed Youngkin.
As for the undercover video McAuliffe mentioned, it does not back up his claims about Youngkin.
At a June meeting in Loudoun County, a questioner asked Youngkin whether he would defund Planned Parenthood or “take it to the abortionists.”
Youngkin replied, “I’m going to be really honest with you. The short answer is, in this campaign I can’t. When I’m governor and I have a majority in the House we can start going on offense. But as a campaign topic, sadly, that in fact won’t win my independent votes that I have to get.”
This fell far short of a pledge to defund Planned Parenthood or outlaw abortion, yet McAuliffe has repeatedly claimed that it was exactly that.
In September, The Washington Post’s fact-checker gave McAuliffe “Two Pinocchios” for his claims that Youngkin would ban abortions.
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“McAuliffe is twisting Youngkin’s secretly recorded comments into something Youngkin did not say — and it’s especially a stretch to claim he has repeatedly said he would ban abortion in Virginia,” the Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote.