Virginia Del. Bob Thomas, R-Stafford, is disputing reports by left-leaning groups that claim he vowed to push for a near-total ban on abortion in his interview with John Frederick, a conservative radio talk show host.
The question about abortion comes around the 7:20 mark.
The report was written in an article by ThinkProgress.org, a progressive non-profit organization, and was picked up by Blue Virginia, a website that provides left-leaning analysis on Virginia politics. The article referenced comments that Thomas made regarding Georgia’s heartbeat bill that prohibits abortion after a heartbeat can be detected.
Joshua Gale, Thomas's opponent, accused Thomas of wanting to "force raped women to carry the rapists child" in a Tweet; however, the legislation that Thomas commented on provides exemptions for rape.
NBC4 removed an article that falsely reported that Thomas advocated support for an Alabama-style law that went even further than Georgia’s law.
“If you listen to the radio interview, you will find that I did not ‘vow’ or ‘promise’ to submit a bill as has been falsely reported,” Thomas told The Center Square in an email.
Thomas claimed that Frederick asked him about the timing of Georgia’s bill and not the bill as a whole. He said that he has not read the entire bill and would have had to defer an answer. He added that he was never asked anything about the Alabama bill.
Despite Thomas never promising any type of legislation, Frederick did specifically ask Thomas whether Georgia’s legislation was too extreme, to which Thomas said it was not. Thomas then said that the problem Virginia has is having a Democrat governor.
“If we’re ever to take the tide back and start putting those laws back in Virginia, we have to find candidates who can win in blue areas of the state ... We have to win these areas where the governor won,” Thomas told Frederick.
“We have to have a governor who’s willing to sign these things, so we have to make some progress in the next two years,” Thomas said in his radio interview.
Legislation to restrict abortion was signed into law in several states this year, including Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, North Dakota and Mississippi. Several bills have been met with federal lawsuits from organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood for seemingly being in violation of Roe V. Wade.
Bill Farrar, the director of strategic communications for the Virginia ACLU, told The Center Square in an email that their organizations supports access to abortion, but did not specifically answer whether it would challenge a statewide bill that restricted abortion to the extent of the legislation passed in other states.
“The decision to have an abortion is deeply personal, and is best left to the individual, their family, and their doctor, without the undue influence of politicians or special interest groups,” Farrar said. “We strive to secure and expand meaningful access to abortion services and availability of comprehensive reproductive health care service that help ensure economic freedom, including contraception and prenatal care.”
Anti-abortion advocates have begun passing these laws this year in response to President Donald Trump appointing Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace former Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy, a Ronald Reagan appointee, famously voted consistently to uphold access to abortion and opponents believe that Kavanaugh is more likely to side against such provisions.