- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, R. Creigh Deeds, attacked his opponent’s stance on abortion Monday, charging that Robert F. McDonnell wants to limit a woman’s choice, and he said the Republican’s legislative focus portrays a man more concerned with social issues than rebuilding the economy.

Mr. Deeds, a state senator, made the charges during a women’s event at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale. Surrounded by about 80 female supporters, including some members of the General Assembly, Mr. Deeds said he thinks that Virginia women are most qualified to choose what to do with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.

In his oft-repeated promise, Mr. Deeds said that as governor, “I will trust you to make your own decisions about your own lives. I believe it is up to a woman, her family, her doctor and her spiritual adviser or whomever else she chooses to consult with to make this decision.”

He said his beliefs are counter to Mr. McDonnell’s.

“My opponent thinks government should make this decision,” Mr. Deeds said, adding that that stance conflicts with Mr. McDonnell’s advocacy of less government intervention in Virginians’ lives.

Mr. Deeds’ decision to discuss abortion already has been criticized by Republicans, who say discussing such a contentious social issue is counter to a pledge Mr. Deeds made during the first debate.

However, at the debate, Mr. Deeds did say he wanted to point out the candidates’ differences on the subject, specifically that Mr. McDonnell is pro-life and introduced dozens of bills trying to limit abortion in the state.

When asked if he was breaking a pledge not to discuss social issues, Mr. Deeds said, “There was no pledge.”

He outlined Mr. McDonnell’s legislative record that, he said, included sponsoring or co-sponsoring 35 bills - an average of 2.5 bills a year - to limit abortion choice in Virginia.

“He could have spent that time advancing resources for public education, like I did,” Mr. Deeds said. “But he didn’t. Although he did vote to cut money for education; he did that plenty of times. He could have spent all that time working to create jobs through economic development, like I did. But he didn’t, though he did vote to cut funding for the governor’s opportunity fund and other economic-growing initiatives. Instead, he spent all that time working to chip away at your right to choose and single-mindedly advancing his anti-choice agenda.”

Mr. Deedssaid his opponent is “focused on a narrow ideological agenda rather than moving Virginia forward.”

Among the female General Assembly members who voiced both their support of Mr. Deeds and their displeasure over Mr. McDonnell’s previous stances on abortion was Delegate Kristen J. Amundson, Fairfax County Democrat. She catalogued Mr. McDonnell’s position on abortion and said that he would spend “time on divisive social issues” instead of focusing on creating more jobs.

“It is much more [than abortion],” she said. “Bob McDonnell’s priorities are not Virginia’s priorities. It is out of the mainstream. It is not just about abortion, it is about birth control. It’s not just not allowing pharmacists to fill prescriptions for contraception; it is about denying people factual information about how to prevent pregnancy. Those are not Virginia’s priorities.”

Mr. McDonnell’s spokesman, J. Tucker Martin, defended his boss in a statement, saying that it is Mr. Deeds’ past voting record on abortion that demonstrates that the Democrat is out of the mainstream on the issue.

“Bob McDonnell supported broad bipartisan legislation to ban partial-birth abortion, enact parental consent for abortions for their children, and informed consent to provide better information to women,” Mr. Martin said. “These bills were overwhelmingly supported by Virginians and their elected representatives. Creigh Deeds consistently opposed these measures, putting him way out of the mainstream on this issue.”

Mr. Martin also noted that while Mr. Deeds was holding a rally about abortion, Mr. McDonnell was touring the state.

“The differences between the two candidates on the issue of abortion are well-known, and now the sharp differences between the two candidates on their top priorities are also.” “Bob McDonnell understands that with the commonwealth’s unemployment rate at a 25-year high, Virginians are rightly focused on the policies we need to create jobs and opportunities. His top priorities are to create good-paying jobs for Virginians, improve our roads and schools, make energy more affordable and government more efficient.”

Mr. Deeds toured Southwest Virginia last week.

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