by Brandon Jarvis

In a secretly recorded video, Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin discussed his opposition to abortion while also having to avoid the topic on the campaign trail in order to not drive away Independent voters. The video was recorded by Lauren Windsor, a progressive activist and creator of The Undercurrent, a grassroots political web show for investigative and field reporting.

The conversation was filmed at a Northern Virginia fundraiser in June and was first published by the progressive cable news network MSNBC and the digital publication American Independent. In the video, Windsor and her partner push Youngkin to agree to extreme anti-abortion statements and take it to the “abortionists,” but Youngkin only outright agreed to oppose taxpayer-funded abortions and to walk back new policies passed by the Democrats.

Although Youngkin noted it would drive important swing voters away from his campaign if he discussed doing anything to limit abortion access prior to election day. He implied that could change after election day, however.  

“When I’m governor, and I have a majority in the House, we can start going on offense,” Youngkin said in response. “But as a campaign topic, sadly, that, in fact, won’t win my Independent votes that I have to get. So you’ll never hear me support Planned Parenthood — what you’ll hear me talk about is actually taking back the radical abortion policies that Virginians don’t want. And in fact, they’re the radicals.” 

Jamie Lockhart, the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia responded to the video. “For months, Glenn Youngkin has claimed he’s a moderate who won’t interfere with Virginians’ freedom,” she said. “But his comments make it abundantly clear that Youngkin is out-of-touch by any standard. He wants to ban abortion, and he’ll lie to Virginia voters so he can do so from the governor’s desk. ” 

Matt Wolking, a spokesperson for Youngkin’s campaign said that he was staying consistent in his comments on the video. “Glenn Youngkin tells everyone he meets the same thing: he can’t wait to go on offense for the people of Virginia by building a rip-roaring economy, creating more jobs with bigger paychecks, restoring excellence in education, prioritizing public safety, and making Virginia the best place in America to live, work, and raise a family,” he said. “This deceptively recorded audio demonstrates that Glenn Youngkin says the same thing no matter who he is talking to, unlike Terry McAuliffe who knowingly makes false allegations and decides what to say based on whatever poll is in front of him.”

Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee accused Youngkin of wanting to defund Planned Parenthood — a concept that Youngkin neither denied nor agreed to do in the recording. “Glenn Youngkin wants to defund Planned Parenthood and ban abortion,” McAuliffe tweeted. “If that wasn’t bad enough, he’s now admitted he’s lying to voters about his radical views. Virginians deserve to know: what other right-wing positions is Glenn Youngkin hiding from us?”

Lockhart continued to say that Youngkin’s policy ideas are not what Virginians want and that his administration would take the Commonwealth backward. “Virginians want abortion to be legal and accessible — not subject to the obstacle course that Youngkin and his Republican colleagues want to rebuild,” Lockhart said. “There’s no doubt that Youngkin will halt Virginia’s progress and take it backwards. This year, Virginians must vote as if their right to make decisions about their own body depends on it– because it does.”

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By vascope