Democrats are increasing pressure on VA-02 Republican nominee Jen Kiggans after Republicans in Congress introduced legislation to ban abortion across the country at 15 weeks. A statement from the Kiggans campaign implied that if she were to be elected, she would support a 15-week ban.
In the past, Kiggans has said that it is a state issue, not a federal one, as a way to deflect away the question and steer away from Democratic attacks calling her an extremist. Kiggans is running against two-term Rep. Elaine Luria (D) this November.
Legislation to restrict abortion currently would not pass in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. And if Republicans gain control in the House and Senate during this year’s midterms, President Biden would most assuredly veto any sort of ban if it made it to his desk.
But that hasn’t stopped Democrats from pushing Kiggans for a response on her position. “Jen Kiggans is trying to run from and confuse voters about her record on abortion because she knows it will be toxic for her in November,” DCCC spokesperson Monica Robinson said Wednesday. “The truth is that Kiggans said in her own words that she is ‘100%, unapologetically pro-life’ and will be a rubber stamp for the Republican Party’s abortion bans in Congress.”
The Kiggans campaign responded by saying she supports common sense restrictions and implied that a 15-week ban would fall under that umbrella. “The vast majority of Virginians – and Americans – support common-sense restrictions on abortion such as protecting babies from 15 weeks on,” said Kiggans campaign spokesperson Bryan Piligra. “What Virginians don’t support is the inhumane and extreme position taken by Rep. Elaine Luria who believes babies should be killed all the way through pregnancy, up until the moment of birth, which is current law in North Korea and China. While Sen. Kiggans believes the states should make these decisions, Rep. Luria voted for her extreme position to have Washington tell Virginians what to do.”
Piligra continued: “As always, Rep. Luria and the Democrats will peddle baseless lies and disinformation to distract voters from their own atrocious record that has led to 40-year high inflation, a devastating supply-chain crisis, and historically high fuel prices for coastal Virginians. Sen. Kiggans looks forward to debating Rep. Luria on whether her extremist support for taxpayer funded late-term abortion is supported by coastal Virginians.”
Luria has not claimed to support abortion up until birth. This has been a common line from Virginia Republicans to attack Democrats after legislation in 2019 went viral. The legislation would have lessened the requirements to perform a late-term abortion on a woman whose life is in jeopardy.
Del. Kathy Tran (D) said she misspoke in 2019 when she replied “yes” on the House floor to a question of whether her bill would allow an abortion while the mother is in labor about to give birth. “I should have said: ‘Clearly, no, because infanticide is not allowed in Virginia, and what would have happened in that moment would be a live birth,’” Tran said during a Washington Post interview at the time. Republicans continue to tie most Democratic candidates in Virginia to those moments, however.
Luria called out her opponent while not responding to the more extreme parts of the Kiggans campaign’s statement. “After weeks of lying, Jen Kiggans’ campaign confirmed today that she would support a national abortion ban,” Luria said in a statement Wednesday. “She is too extreme for Coastal Virginia.”
Kiggans has always said she supports exceptions for abortion in the case of rape or incest.
Luria and Kiggans are running in a competitive House race this year. According to an analysis from VPAP:
- Glenn Youngkin won VA-02 with 55% of the vote in 2021
- Tim Kaine won VA-02 with 52% of the vote in 2018
- Ralph Northam won VA-02 with 50.4% of the vote in 2017
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