RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With abortion rights on the ballot, control of the Virginia General Assembly may come down to how voters feel about two simple words: ban and limit.
For months, Democrats have argued Republicans support banning abortion. Republicans say that’s not true, rather they support a 15-week limit.
Randolph-Macon Political Science Professor Rich Meagher says although it may be a little bit unfair for Democrats to imply Republicans want a total ban, they’re using the word to elicit emotion from voters.
“The argument that the Democrats are making, which is, we are holding the line here, not just for Virginia, but for the whole South, that is striking a chord with Democratic voters,” Meagher explained.
Meagher says the word limit is an attempt by Virginia Republicans to appear more moderate than some Republicans in other states.
“It’s not something new. It’s not trying to outlaw abortion,” Meagher said. “It’s just going to make it more limited. That is their argument, but they are having a tough time getting that argument to resonate. I think most folks are thinking of this, even using the language of a 15-week ban.”
Meagher says the problem for Republicans is that the Democrats’ message may be easier for voters to follow.
“The Democrats have a very simple, probably too simplistic story, which is Republicans want to ban abortion,” Meagher told 8News. “The Republicans are saying it’s not a ban, it’s a limit, it’s 15 weeks. They are offering numbers and nuance and numbers and nuance are often overpowered in politics by simple stories.”
It’s important to note that Virginia is the only state in the South that hasn’t passed further restrictions on abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned.