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Women's Health Advocates Refute Obenshain's Attempt To Rewrite His Record

July 16, 2013

Women's health advocates today pushed back against GOP Attorney General candidate Mark Obenshain's attempts to obscure his record of attacking women's health access. In particular, Obenshain tried to distance himself from his 2009 bill that would criminalize women who don't report their miscarriage to the police within 24 hours, telling Virginia Public Radio on Friday "I would never request or pursue or advocate a bill that would work that kind of hardship on mothers that are going through that difficult period."

Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said, ""In 2009 Sen. Mark Obenshainintroduced legislation to criminalize tragic pregnancy complications and threaten grieving Virginia women with the threat of law enforcement. Yet faced with statewide scrutiny, he is now attempting to deny knowledge of his own callous bill. This is nothing more than an attempt from Sen. Obenshain to distance himself from an egregious and insulting record of attacking women's rights, privacy, and basic healthcare."

Advocates detailed Obenshain's long history of interference in women's private health care decisions. In 2004, Obenshain attempted to limit James Madison University students' access to emergency contraception. As State Senator, Obenshain co-sponsored so-called "personhood" legislation that would criminalize all abortions and interfere with women's personal decisions concerning including the use of birth control. And in 2012, Obenshain referred to a proposed transvaginal ultrasound mandate as "common sense."

"These examples show Obenshain has a long record of thoughtless disregard for the impact of his right wing ideology on women's health," said Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA "Far from showing concern over any hardship he might be causing women by attempting to block access to reproductive health care, from birth control to abortion, he's demonstrated he's nothing but a right-wing extremist who will try to rewrite history in hopes that Virginia families won't notice."

Cianti Stewart-Reid, director of Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC, noted Obenshain's record mirrors that of GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. "Obenshain and Cuccinelli have long supported the same outrageous restrictions on women's health care access. There's no question that as Attorney General,Obenshain would follow Cuccinelli's activist model and continue to use the office to interfere in decisions that should be between a woman, her doctor, her family and her faith."