Editor: I signed up for Ed Gillespie’s “InformED Decisions conversation” recently. I was hoping to get a chance to meet the man who wants to represent me as Governor of Virginia, and to ask him about his views.
Unfortunately, as the Washington Post recently reported, Gillespie is screening his audiences to keep out anyone who isn’t already inclined to support him. At a similar event in Danville, Gillespie let in everyone who signed up except for one man, a Democratic staffer. I’m not a member of the Democratic Party, so I’m not sure how I ended up on Gillespie’s enemy list, but I was likewise denied a ticket. I and a few others who couldn’t get tickets met in the parking lot outside the event, to have our own conversation about issues in the gubernatorial election. We were not near the entrance, nor obstructing traffic, not holding signs nor yelling nor attempting to bother the attendees of the event, merely talking quietly amongst ourselves. Yet the event organizers still felt the need to order us the leave the area. This suggests that Gillespie won’t tolerate any conversation that isn’t tightly under his control.
Since Gillespie will never listen to the question I wanted to ask, I want to present it to the public instead. My question for Gillespie is: what option does he offer women? Gillespie wants to completely ban abortion. He wants to teach students that birth control is a sin, and his fellow Republicans in the general assembly recently cut out funding that would have covered long term birth control for low income women. Gillespie also doesn’t want the government to acknowledge lesbian marriages.
Gillespie also wants to defund Planned Parenthood, which would deny many women access to affordable prenatal care. He opposes expanding Medicaid. Currently, a family of four that earns even $13,000 per year is too rich to be covered by Medicaid. Gillespie signed a pledge to prohibit young mothers from receiving welfare, and prevent mothers from receiving increased aid when they have additional children. Gillespie received over $100,000 from Education Secretary Betty DeVos’s family and embraces her harmful policies. He wants to withdraw support from public schools.
What choice does Gillespie consider acceptable for women? He sees lesbian relationships as illegitimate, so presumably he wants us to marry men, but then he says birth control is a sin, abortion should be illegal, and he wants to cut off pregnant women and mothers from as much financial, medical, and educational support as possible. What options does he offer us?
Pro-choice activists sometimes call conservatives “anti-choice”, but Gillespie worse than anti-choice, because anti-choice implies that one action is acceptable, mandatory. Gillespie is not only against the right to choose, but against every possible choice we could make. In contrast, his opponent Ralph Northam’s policies would support women in whatever choices we make, from our medical choices to our consensual relationships to providing for the children that we choose to have.
Erica Ehrhardt, Leesburg