Rep. Bob Good, R-5th, came to Capitol Square on Saturday to urge lawmakers to protect life from conception and not settle for incremental steps such as Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposal to ban most abortions after 15 weeks.
Good, whose district now includes part of Hanover County, did not mention Youngkin by name in his remarks to more than 100 people who gathered for a rainy rally at the Bell Tower. But the implication was clear as he urged legislators across the country to “match the courage” of the Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade.
“Republicans should not be in the business of negotiating the timeline of abortion,” Good said. “Six weeks, eight weeks, 10 weeks, 12 weeks, whatever it may be…
“Abortion should not be negotiated. It should be eliminated.”
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On June 24, the day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Youngkin said he will work to ban most abortions in Virginia after 15 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest or when a woman’s life is in jeopardy.
Four days later, Youngkin told The Family Foundation that he would like to go further. Citing the 21-19 Democratic edge in the state Senate, he told the audience that his goal is to get a bill he can sign.
“It won’t be the bill that we all want,” Youngkin said, indicating that he believes life begins at conception.
Both Youngkin and Sen. Steve Newman, R-Lynchburg, one of the four GOP lawmakers he has asked to work on abortion legislation, have said while they prefer a 15-week bill, a 20-week standard could be a fallback position.
Good said Saturday that 92% of the abortions in Virginia take place before 15 weeks and 99% before 20 weeks.
“I’m sorry to say Republicans here in Richmond are the worst negotiators of all. You want to play poker with these folks,” Good said. “They show you what’s in their cards. They tell you their highest bid, and then they fold anyway.”
Diana Shores, a veteran conservative activist and senior strategist for Good for Congress, urged members of the crowd to hold Youngkin and GOP lawmakers accountable.
“We are here today to ask Governor Glenn Youngkin to be the pro-life governor he promised he would be,” she said. “We are here today to ask every legislator who said they would fight for life to garner the courage to fight for life — at conception.”
Speakers at the rally included Del. Marie March, R-Floyd, who said she will introduce legislation for the January session to protect life as of conception.
“There can be no compromise,” March said.
Abortion bills in the General Assembly traditionally go through the Senate Education and Health Committee, on which Democrats hold a 9-6 edge. Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, who heads the committee, told CNN over the weekend that a 15-week bill would be “dead on arrival” in the committee.
Members of the crowd at Saturday’s rally held signs with messages such as: “Choose life — your mother did,” “I am the pro-life generation” and “I am the post-Roe generation.”
Janet Robey, of Bedford, like others in the crowd, said she supports “babies from the moment of conception to natural death.”
But as a practical matter, she said, “Any incremental step we could take toward banning abortion completely saves babies’ lives. And that’s why I’m here — to stand for life.”
Robey said of Good’s view: “I get where he’s coming from, and in a perfect world, we would have protection from conception. But, unfortunately, we live in such a society that we’re going to have to take it by steps.”
Good was first elected in 2020, after unseating Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-5th, in a drive-through nominating convention.
In November, Good faces Democrat Josh Throneburg, a minister and small-business owner, in a strong Republican district in which Youngkin beat Democrat Terry McAuliffe by 20 percentage points in the 2021 contest for governor.
Throneburg has called the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe “a heartbreaking decision” and said “it will do nothing to end abortion in this country. It will only make it more dangerous.”
After redistricting, the 5th District includes all or part of 24 cities and counties. In the greater Richmond area, it includes about 13,400 voters in Hanover County as well as all of Louisa, Powhatan, Goochland, Nottoway and Amelia counties.