Moran's 2003 vote to block lawful abortions raises questions about his position on right to choose

Note from teacherken:Let me explain why I am promoting this. It is legitimate to raise questions about positions and issues of candidates, even if one is a supporter of other candidates. Our policy is that the decision to promote something like this to the front page must be made by a designated person who is neutral in the race. One factor that I will consider is the tone of the post, and whether it is open to dialog and response. I believe this post meets that criterion.

Crossposted to Daily Kos and The Virginia Democrat

During the blogger dinner with Creigh Deeds, the Senator mentioned that he had the strongest pro-choice record of any candidate in the race, but he refused to be more specific, telling us to “look it up.”

So I did.

Here is what I found.

In 2003, Mr. Moran voted in favor of SB 1205, a bill that banned a certain abortion procedure, one characterized with the inaccurate and inflammatory name, “partial birth abortion.” In fact, SB 1205 banned these abortions even in cases that endangered the life or health of the mother. Joining Mr. Moran in voting in favor of the bill, which eventually went on to become law, was none other than Taliban Bob McDonnell, the man Mr. Moran now claims wants to take us back to the last century, and the man Mr. Moran claims he will beat like a drum. And sponsoring the bill was our old friend, “Sideshow” Bob Marshall.

This draconian law completely undercut the philosophical underpinnings of a woman’s right to choose. If that right means anything, it means that the right or a woman (or any human being, for that matter) to control their own body and their own medical treatment is a matter for the person and their licensed health care provider to decide, completely independent of any ideologically mandated procedure enacted by a legislature acting out of political expediency.

And lest there be any doubt about the radical nature of the bill in favor of which Mr. Moran voted, it was never allowed to be enforced. It was too radical, apparently, even for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the more Conservative tribunals in the nation, which struck it down in 2005.

Even more shocking, last year the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Fourth Circuit to review the law again in light of a 2007 Supreme Court case upholding a federal ban on a similar procedure. But even applying this more permissive standard, the law could not pass Constitutional muster and the Fourth Circuit again struck it down as too restrictive, saying, “The Virginia Act imposes an undue burden upon a woman’s right to choose a previability second trimester abortion.”

Attorney General Bob McDonnell was disappointed with the decision, the Washington Post said.

On his Web Site, Mr. Moran says the following about his record on reproductive rights:

Brian believes that a woman, in consultation with her doctor, should have the right to make her own health care and reproductive decisions. He has consistently opposed unconstitutional infringements on a woman’s right to choose.

Does that statement square with his vote in favor of SB 1205?

Mr. Moran should both explain his 2003 vote undercutting a woman’s right to choose, and the distortion of his record on his web site, currently.

Mr. Moran should also clarify his views on a woman’s right to choose. Would Mr. Moran again vote in favor of legislation that would put the Virginia General Assembly between a decision that properly belongs to a woman and her doctor?

Disclosure: I am a supporter of Creigh Deeds. I do not work or volunteer for his campaign.

Good information

This should be higher up or on the front page. Ya'll committed to keeping this policy focused. And this is policy.

Not that long ago

2003 was only 6 years ago. Wonder what changed to cause him to take a different position?

He has "consistently opposed UNCONSTITUTIONAL infringements"

which, I gather, means that he has a narrower concept of what kind of infringements are unconstitutional than does the US Court of Appeals.

That's pretty weak, if you ask me

The law was ruled unconstitutional, whether Moran agreed with that decision or not.

But, if he doesn't, then he has even more explaining to do where he stands on the issue of choice.



Brian has a 100% NARAL rating

for 2008. Read it here.
2007: 75%
2006: 66%
2005: 100%
2004: 100%

Just FYI.

Uh, no, he doesn't

He has a 75% rating in 2007.

And a 66% rating in 2006.

And, in any event, this vote is from 2003.

Sure, he does

...for 2008, which is all that franko claimed (albeit *below* the subject title) :)

Do we know, BTW, Moran's rating from NARAL, Planned Parenthood, etc, for the relevant (before he had "the conversion") years -- 2003/2004?

And thanks for the posting; I'm long past childbearing age myself, but find the subject -- as being treated in US -- fascinating. I landed in NYC, straight off the boat, on Jan 3, 1973, and, all the way to my unknown home, practised my American English by listening to the radio, which was full of the Roe vs Wade discussion. That's when I learnt, for the first time, that, wherever *else* Poland might have been "left behind", it wasn't in this particular area; abortion had been legal there since 1946 (before I was born): 1st trimester -- woman's choice; 2nd trimester -- woman's choice with doctor's recommendation; 3rd trimester -- as rare as hen's teeth -- only if continuing the pregnancy was posing a risk for the mother's life (ie, doctor's decision). That, in US, women had had no say at all, till '73, blew my mind...

Not germane to Aznew's post

The question is around his support for full reproductive rights. The "partial birth abortion" bill was not before the GA in 2008. I looked through all of NARAL's scored votes in 2008 and 2007 in the House of Delegates and Senate and the bills did not concern this procedure.

What's more if you look at the 2008 scorecard and compare that to the 2007 scorecard. Moran changed his vote from 2007 to 2008 on the fetal anesthesia bill. It was HB2456 in 2007 and he voted for it. In 2008, it was HB1556 and he voted against it. What changed between the two years to lead him to believe that requiring: "doctors to offer to anesthetize a fetus prior to abortion and to include in informational materials a statement that a fetus at 20 gestational weeks has the physical structures necessary to feel pain and react to physical stimuli in a manner that, in an infant or adult, would be interpreted as a response to pain" was no longer something he supported?

And the vote in 2006 that got him the lower score was that he voted for an abstinence education bill. And I think we all know how well abstinence education works. Here's HB164's summary for giggles:

Requires that any family life education course including a discussion of sexual intercourse emphasize that abstinence is the accepted norm and the only guarantee against unwanted pregnancy. The bill also requires that family life courses include materials that emphasize honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage; provide information on the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases; inform students on laws addressing child support obligations and the unlawfulness of sexual relations between unmarried persons; and advise students on ways to avoid unwanted sexual advances and resist negative peer pressure. Further, the bill provides that students may opt out of family life courses if a parent or guardian submits a written objection and clarifies that parents have the right to review any family life curriculum, whether such curriculum is mandatory or optional.

Precious that it also requires that this curriculum (in the state education code) emphasize heterosexual monogamous relationships only and emphasize the state's laws against sex outside of marriage. Cause kids being gay or having sex outside of marriage will just lead to a world of trouble! ;)

Thanks for helping me get these details! I am a much more informed about this candidate now. That's the pitfall of having this long legislative record. People are going to have a sh*t fit about your vote for the Flag Desecration Bill (not Amendment), Hillary! (I threw this in for aznew's benefit) =)

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander

How far back does your purity requirement on the abortion issue reach? I found this, which tells us that Creigh Deeds voted FOR a partial birth abortion ban in 1998 and FOR Sideshow Bob Marshall's parental notification bill in 1997. So, does it count against Brian that his votes were 6 years ago while Creigh's were eleven? For that matter, while we're discussing this latest "more progressive than thou" matter, shouldn't we go back and re-examine Creigh's votes in FAVOR of the Marshall-Newman Amendment in 2004 and 2005? You published a diary about it in early February, but you were more magnanimous toward Creigh than you are toward Brian.

From your diary about Creigh Deeds's vote FOR Marshall-Newman and his later reversal of his position:

I think at this point, unless you believe that Sen. Deeds harbors some hidden anti-gay prejudice (and I don’t see how anyone can sincerely believe that), the salient issue is not how Senator Deeds voted on the Marshall-Newman Amendment, but what he would do as the Governor of Virginia for the next four years. Sure, a person’s record is important in making this determination. We look to a record because it can provide an indication of what an individual might do in the future. But records mean a lot of things, and people learn from experience. My own sense is that this vote and its fallout – and the forced public introspection that followed -- provided Sen. Deeds with the wisdom that comes from thinking seriously about a difficult moral, ethical and legal issue.

So, applying your standard, how does Creigh get a pass while Brian does not? Would you not give him credit for struggling with the difficult moral, ethical, and legal issues entangled in late-term abortion and the right of minors to hide their abortions from their own parents? Are we all so secure that the ONLY thing at stake in an abortion is the relationship between a woman and her doctor? Are we all so very comfortable with the notion that a pregnant 14 year old may be told that she can hide her pregnancy from her own parents - lie to them even - while relying on social worker strangers to guide her in the abortion decision? The issues involved in abortion are far more complex than those involved in gay marriage.

I believe Brian when he says he's as pro-choice as they come. I doubt very much that he would vote the same way he did in 2003, so maybe you ought to cut him at least the same slack you gave Creigh. But this diary offends me. It offends me because abortion is not a simple matter of good guys saying yes while bad guys say no. It offends me because it tells us that the only way a person can be called progressive is to embrace wholeheartedly and without reservation the right to abortion no matter the circumstances, and if an elected official hesitates in his embrace of abortion rights upon considering the very complex moral and ethical issues involved his progressive pedigree should be called into question. Some people cannot see abortion in such simple black and white terms. When it comes to abortion I don't vote progressive because I think it is a wonderful option, but because the progressive position is the one most likely to provide alternatives to abortion. Increased access to health care and child care and state enforced payment of child support all tend to reduce abortion. Comprehensive sex education and access to contraception help reduce abortions. Access to and promotion of higher education tend to reduce abortions because teens who believe in their own potential are less likely to get pregnant. But let's not pretend it's a simple matter of a woman and her doctor and no one else's interest at stake. Let's not pretend that the pregnant 14 year old who doesn't want her parents to know she is pregnant is inevitably better served by the social worker who encourages her to have an abortion and keep the secret. Concern about abortion is not simply the province of right wing religious fanatics. If there's going to be a litmus test for progressives this is not the one we should embrace.

The problem with the term "Progressive"

is that it means so many things to so many different people. So, what is the litmus test we should be applying? Or should we all apply our own definition of progressive and judge from there?

clearly people disagree on this

which I expected when I promoted it. But also note - we are having a serious discussion, people are doing real research. And the tone has remained quite civil.

Folks, during a primary we are not going to agree. Even after an election we may find things that please some and disappoint others in our newly elected public officials, as we are seeing with our President, and which I remember all too well with respect to Sen. Webb.

Part of what a blog should do is provide information, and if that informing of the readership comes about in a back and forth between supporters of one candidate and those of another, that is not a problem so long as we do not get nasty or personal, either about the opposing candidate or about her/his supporters.


Okay, so

we're in the midst of a recession, our transportation infrastructure is woefully inadequate (and falling apart), our schools need vast improvements, and we have an untold number of uninsured Virginians... and abortion is the big issue here. I'm no Moran supporter, but I think this is just stupid. It's the sort of thing that Republicans hand-wring about (on the other side of the issue, obviously), despite the fact that Roe v. Wade is established law and it doesn't look like it will be changing anytime soon. I want a governor who can govern, not a governor who can pay the most lip service to the pro-choice movement.

This was a law that was struck down by the courts

So, if your concern is the wise use of taxpayer funds, this is very apropos. The Assembly approved this bill without the Governor's amendments that tried to meet previous court tests. The law was challenged and then the people of Virginia had to spend money defending this law in court. So, regardless of whether you think reproductive rights are a non-issue, this was a waste of taxpayer money. And if your concern is someone who can best determine the use of our limited funds in these tough times, this would be applicable.

Excellent point

The problem with litmus tests is they're stiff little one dimensional things which can give only yes or no answers. They have no depth or nuance and are meant only to exclude or ratify a single proposition. Litmus tests are great for those who want to live lives of ideological simplicity and political inflexibility, but ridiculous for anyone else.

How should we evaluate candidates?

Maybe we don't call them litmus tests. But there are certainly binary conditions we look at when evaluating a candidate. Certainly membership in the Democratic party is a condition of some people's vote. And there is this condition for some that they be progressive (whatever that is). We can look at nuance, but at the end of the day we have to make a decision based on some qualifying factors. We may choose to discount certain things in evaluating a qualifier, but you are still using qualifiers. Unless this is an irrational decision.

So, maybe the better question is how do you evaluate a candidate?

I don't think this about litmus tests in the discussion around this bill. Was this a good piece of legislation? And let's talk about the complexity of issue you noted above. At what point should government be involved in sexual reproduction? I think this is pertinent question. Society certainly has an interest in the well being of its members as well as its continuity. At what point does that interest move from general societal norms to government intervention. How involved in the decision making process of individuals should government be? And what level then defines what we are calling progressive?

I am going to disagree on several points

1. Not clear that Roe is not going away. With Alito on the court, there are now four sure votes to overturn, and while Roberts in his confirmation hearing gave Roe the status of a more than ordinary precedent, even if he does not flat out vote to overturn - which he may - will vote to restrict it even further

2. How a politician has voted on previous aspects of legislation is informative. If s/he has changed positions, we are entitled to inquire why, so that we can have some understanding of what it might mean when in another office.

Now granted, when one represents a relatively small part of the state, one's votes could be very different than speaking/acting for the state as a whole. Of course, Moran comes from one of the more liberal parts of the state, so that does not seem an explanation.

He is also going to be somewhat influenced by things like his religion. I see nothing wrong with seeing how one' religious beliefs and political ideology inform one's public actions.

I do not think that one vote in itself is dispositive, although some people do use absolute litmus tests - fail one and you lose their support. While I disagree with such an approach, I also disagree about avoiding close scrutiny of public records. Thus Brian's vote on this law is fair game. So are Terry's business dealings. So is how Creigh approaches things like run rights (which probably cost him the election four years ago - take a look how poorly he did in NoVa compared to Tim).

Taliban Bob

stupid question, where does this nick name come from?

It comes from immature and disgusting hypocrites

Who see no problem with assigning a petty nickname that associates someone they have a political disagreement with to brutal warlords who routinely rape, maim, and murder their own people. Not to mention who are currently fighting against and killing U.S. soldiers.

It's the same thing as right-wing idiots calling Obama a terrorist, yet strangely Virginia Democrats seem to have absolutely no problem with it. Oh well, back to how "progressive" they are.

It comes from

this article by Jim Spencer of the Daily Press:

McDonnell, a man considering a run for Virginia attorney general, apparently has decided to warm up by appointing himself head of Virginia’s new Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

If you thought such overbearing minions of morality existed only among Afghan extremists, think again. Taliban Bob says Newport News Circuit Judge Verbena Askew may not be fit for reappointment to the bench if she ever violated the state’s crimes-against-nature law.

Revelations of a sex-harassment accusation against Askew by a former female official at the Newport News Drug Court spurred Taliban Bob to this moral high ground. Doesn’t matter that an investigator found "little, if any, credible evidence to support the allegations and substantial credible evidence to support the denial." Doesn’t matter that the accusation—even if true—never involved allegations of touching or kissing, much less anything carnal.

Taliban Bob, a graduate of Pat Robertson’s Regent University Law School and a darling of Robertson’s Christian Coalition, assumes that the harassment claim might mean that Askew might be a lesbian. And if she is, McDonnell says, she may not be judicial material. Then, he defends his bigotry by hiding behind the crimes-against-nature law.


The argument being made in this post is that Creigh is more liberal than Brian on the abortion issue, and yet does not cite where Creigh has fought for that right to chose or against any infringement on that right. That information had to surface in the comments, showing that Creigh has tripped over the same issue.

...and the point?

informative post

This is an informative post Alan. It definitely sheds light on one of the claims Moran has made and serves as a rebuttal to the Moran camp's attempt to label him the most progressive. As I have stated on several comments before, Moran comes from a very "liberal" district but was not compelled to vote in line with his former constituents' views because he was popular for various reasons. He has been setting himself up for a statewide run for years now so his moderate record is not a surprise. Good post.

There she blows again, the "M" word

You've posted several comments here denigrating Brian Moran as a (shudder!) "moderate". So this makes Terry what? A radical? Sure you want to go there in Virginia, friend? I've asked you before to tell us why being moderate is a bad thing, especially in a conservative leaning state like Virginia, but haven't seen a reply yet. Moreover, you keep talking about Brian's "record", and I've challenged you to post examples of this moderation you see in him and why it's a bad thing, but you still haven't explained. Is it because you're still seeking permission from the vast pool of victims of the "Moran machine" to reveal the horrors he has inflicted upon them?

My litmus test...

is which gubenatorial candidate hates mimes more. Until I get a definitive answer to this question from the candidates, I cannot possibly make a decision. They have to be 100% anti-mime to get my vote.

What if Moran is only against "unconstitutional" infringements

on miming?

There is no right to mime

in my Constitution.



Remember what Tim Kaine said?

When asked about this issue in 2005? As a Catholic, he's against abortion, but a Virginia Governor only gets 4 years to get things done so he won't waste his whole term on this one battle. The same went for the death penalty. I think that, considering this and the fact that over half the legislature (existing majority in the Senate, possible majority in the House) will be pro-choice next year, there's no chance of either Democratic candidate putting any further restrictions on abortions in Virginia. We have more pressing issues, in my opinion.


I don't know the details, but I have seen some discussion on this board to the effect that the Governor will have little ability to affect whether the Surry plant is built -- that, basically, there are laws on the books, and various bureaucrats who enforce them.

If that's true, doe that make Surry a non-issue? Of course not -- it the centerpiece of the Moran campaign. It's the litmus issue for Moran -- if you don't oppose Surry, you're not a real Progressive.

Do you not think it is fair to ask Moran where he stands on this issue, and why he voted like he did? Do you think it is fair to ask why his web site on this issue distorts his record?

Someone above asked about Creigh and Marshall Newmann, and why I cut Creigh slack on that issue, but won't do the same for Moran. But that is not accurate. I said repeatedly that Creigh needed to address the issue, and when I got a chance to interview him, I asked him to explain that vote. And I concluded that his explanation might not please all people, but I did not think he was anti-gay.

I did not ignore the issue or attempt to explain it away, as Moran supporters have done through this thread.

If the Governor has little to do with power plants..

Then why did Lowell waste all that time railing on Gov. Kaine for not leading the push to stop the Wise plant and pull his support of Kaine, rename his namesake blog and eventually shut down? The Governor can, if willing, lead and rally the people to oppose anything that is against the public interest. In the case of the Wise plant, I think it was too much to put it all on the Governor.

The differences with the Surry plant are enormous. The plant is 3 times bigger, threatens $ billion dollar fishing industry, $ billion dollar tourist industry, security of our US Navy and is located close enough to an area with enough people that can exert real political "grassroots" clout. We also have a better organized environmental alliance and studies that show the Wise plant will eliminated jobs in Virginia and that efficiency is a much cheaper and more profitable solution for all of the Commonwealth.

And for someone who likes to play grammar police, you have quite a few errors.

You mean the same Wise County coal-fired

power plant that Brian Moran VOTED FOR?!?

Yes that is the one

and if the Wise plant site was in an area that is not devastated by poverty and had the capacity to fight a long term battle with Dominion, I might see your point. But to repeatedly suggest there is no difference between the two, when the differences are huge, suggests a lack of judgment.

A lack of judgement ?

As I recall you made the point earlier that the Surry plant will be three times the size (generating capacity) as the Wise County plant. I don't know that I'd call that a "huge" difference, although I do understand that there are other factors that are certainly huge differences. For example, the Surry plant will affect the health of more people simply because it's near a large urban area. But then if you compare the two in terms of number of people per kilowatt generated the math gives another perspective which is very important to Wise County residents who will suffer from the air and water quality.

Another obvious difference of course is political. Sadly, oppostion or support too often boils down to which area has the larger number of voters. Another way of saying this might be "not in my backyard". It seems that urban area politicians and people who elect them simply don't care about people in rural areas so long as they aren't affected directly.

I also believe that the points made about the effect the Surry plant would have on tourism is especially offensive. Wise County does in fact have a small but significant tourism industry, which will be seriously affected by the polution from the coal fired plant. That is one of the most beautiful areas of Virginia. The smoke from the burning coal, though, will change all that. Beautiful green trees (this is called the Trail of the Lonsome Pine) will begin to die (turn brown). Crystal clear lakes (e.g., the lake at High Knob, about two miles from Norton) will become so polluted that they will be unsafe for swimming or fishing. No tourists will want to visit the many craft shops as they are coughing from the smoke in their lungs. You get the picture, I'm sure.

IMHO, judgement involves much more than large vs. small population differences. By far the most important "huge" difference is the degree of negative effect per person. If by judgement you mean a calculated judgement as to which area is more important politically, I suppose opposing both plants might somehow be bad political judgement. Or maybe not. Whichever person wins the primary will need to make a good showing in SW Va. and ignoring the health of those rural people in favor of the urban area residents only makes it more difficult to connect with the rural voters who believe (unfortunately correctly) that the urban politicians have forgotten about them and their needs.

Another, unrelated, point/question: One of the commentors on this subject said something about a security risk to the large Navy presence. So my question is: In what way(s) does the Surry plant a security risk to the Navy bases ? Even if the plant were attacked by terrorists it will be too far away for an explosion to affect the bases. No nuclear fuel, only coal.

I look forward to responses, both pro and con.


Choice is a pressing issue

Sorry to be so late joining this conversation, but I did want to clarify a couple of frankoanderson's points. First, we actually do NOT have a pro-choice majority in the state senate. Senators Colgan and Puckett, though Democrats, are anti-choice. This has already been demonstrated by two votes--the vote to defund Planned Parenthood in 2008, which resulted in a tie that was broken by anti-choice Lt. Gov. Bolling's vote, and this year's vote on Choose Life license plates (which will send funds to anti-choice, deceptive "crisis pregnancy centers"), which passed with a 20-19 vote. A Democratic majority in the House of Delegates won't translate to a pro-choice majority either--though it will likely improve the committee environment, as the Democratic majority in the Senate has done.

I say all that to say that the next Governor will likely see reproductive rights and health legislation get to his desk, and so pro-choice voters (60% of voters in Virginia, as it turns out) should take note of the candidates' positions on choice. And in regards to the johny longtorso's comment that suggested reproductive rights should take a back seat to the economy, traffic, etc., I would simply say that for many women in Virginia, the ability to control the timing and spacing of their pregnancies is a critically important issue that affects their education, employment, healthcare, and quality of life. And just as one example of how the issues you cited are tied to reproductive rights and health: If you don't have health insurance, birth control can cost upwards of $40 a month.

Your last para. is especially important.

Several times I've thought about offering comments on this vitally important TOP TIER issue (not less important than the economy or even coal-fired plants, e.g.). But the main reason I have refrained from commenting is the harsh attacks we are seeing between McAullife and Moran camps against each other. This is not and should not be made an internal Dem. partisan issue. And if we'd all just calm down and think about this we could help defend a woman's right to make her own personal decisions without allowing the Repugs (that's short for "Repugnant" in case you're wondering, not just Republicans) to get the government involved.

But you have expressed this so well I decided to speak my peace.

I happen to live in Chuck Colgan's 29th Senate district. Colgan often voted against, even worked hard against, some of Gov. Warner's and Gov. Kaine's top priority initiatives. He no more follows the core Dem. principles than many Republicans. In fact, he has always been more conservative than most moderate Republicans, and his long record shows it. So, as you say, we don't really have a Dem. majority in the Senate - only a majority who claim to be Dem. but in reality some of whom behave and vote as Republicans. Enough said about Colgan and other DINOs, except to say that he will not run for re-election and we need to begin the process of recruiting a progressive Democrat to replace him.

What concerns me most about johny longtorso's comments is that this is exactly the kind of diversionary trap the Republicans are trying to set for us. Standing fast on our beliefs in and support of womens' rights in no way diminishes our ability to address the other issues. In fact your diary essentially says the opposite. Human rights and the other issues are all interelated, and the work we do to recruit and elect good progressives should be mutually supportive of all these issue positions.

One last comment for now: I think it may have been Kathy (in Blacksburg) who said the pro-choice issue is not a simple black and white issue but rather very complicated. I do fully understand what she means in the context of how very difficult and complex each individual woman's decision is. But in the context of this long thread, I think it is "black and white" and very simple. The issue isn't how a woman makes her decision and how very difficult it is to do so - the right to determine how and to make those decisions is hers, and hers alone. The political issue is whether a candidate fully supports those rights - all her rights - or is willing to support only some and prohibit others for whatever reason, whether religious, personal or perceived political gain.

In my view, there can be NO exceptions when we are talking about human rights. The question we must ask each candidate is: "Are you for us or against us ". And I don't buy the claims made by some that over a period of a few years (or even a decade or more) any person can change from making some exceptions to support of fundamental human rights to a transformation (sudden or gradual) to 100% support of all those rights. Such fundamental beliefs can't be changed that easily, only the publicly-stated claims can.

Again, for me there can be no exceptions or qualifications to my candidate's position on a woman's rights. Complete, wholehearted, deeply and sincerely held, and above all consistent, belief and support is the answer I expect to the question. Nothing less than an unequivocal "yes" without reservation will do.


Well, I see some people are happy to clutch their

little one dimensional litmus strips and not a single one of them has addressed the hypocrisy of criticizing Brian Moran for voting six years ago exactly the same way Creigh did eleven years ago. Just goes to show the best way to address an unbeatable argument is to pretend it doesn't exist.

More to the point, though, is the silliness of thinking that this election should turn on whose pro-choice pedigree is more pure rather than on substantive issues Virginia's next governor will encounter. Okay, let's see you people explain just what would be different about access to abortion under a Moran versus under a McAuliffe or a Deeds gubernatorial administration. Tell us what Brian Moran would do different from what Deeds or McAuliffe would do. What legislation would he push? Upon whom would he turn? Come on, guys, use your imaginations - seeing that's all you have - tell us what he would do to interfere with the right to abortion.

Oh, and UVANick, I'm STILL waiting for you to tell me who's been done in by the "Moran machine". You were going "get back to" me about that, remember?

I find your arguments supporting Moran disingenuous at best

and so refrain from responding, mainly because I am trying to stick to facts, and it is an utter waste of my time to keep batting down straw man after straw man that you prop up.

But, just to correct two things: The bill for which Creigh voted is not the same as SB1205, the bill for which Moran voted. There are many differences, the two major ones being:

-- The language providing for saving the life of mother exception is quite different, and much more limited in SB1205; and

-- Violation of the bill Creigh voted for constitutes a Class 1 misdemeanor, while violation of SB1205 would be a Class 4 Felony.(Catzmaw, I seem to recall you are an attorney and I think this distinction is legallly important).

And one other thing? Regardless of Creigh's vote on a 1998 bill (and, yes, it is fair to evaluate a vote from 10 years ago differently than a vote from 5 years ago), how on Earth can you possibly defend Moran's statement that he has "consistently opposed unconstitutional infringements on a woman's right to choose?" He has not.

I've noticed that every time you can't answer

one of my arguments you slap a label on it and move on. How is my argument disingenuous? Not the "same bill"? I guess what you're saying is that Creigh was just somewhat opposed to partial birth abortion whereas Brian was more so. Sorry if it sounds to me similar to the argument that one can be just a little bit pregnant. You're telling us that the bill Creigh voted for was more "constitutional" than the one Brian voted for. Glad we straightened that out.

You stick to your argument that Brian can't say he's consistently opposed unconstitutional infringements on the "right to choose". Um, so what? And setting aside for a moment that Creigh can't honestly claim pro-choice consistency either, he also can't claim that he's always been against discrimination in any form because HE voted to change Virginia's constitution to discriminate AGAINST a class of citizens in this Commonwealth, the gay and lesbian community. As I said, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Your argument still appears to be that we should apply a purity test to these candidates, but you reserve the right to determine the degree of impurity. Casting a vote on a difficult, complex issue like late term abortion = bad (unless the penalty is a misdemeanor rather than a felony, in which case it's not too bad); casting a vote enshrining discrimination against an entire class of people = not so bad, just regrettable.


You write:

You stick to your argument that Brian can't say he's consistently opposed unconstitutional infringements on the "right to choose". Um, so what?

Here's the "so what:" HE DOES CLAIM THAT. IT IS A LIE. Sheesh.

A couple of points

a) in 2003, when Brian cast his votes, the constitutionality was still an open question which was not addressed by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals until 2005. It being the 4th Circuit I doubt very much that there was any sweeping statement establishing the unrestricted freedom to choose partial birth abortion, but haven't had time to pull and read the decision yet. The constitutionality issue was not addressed until two years AFTER his vote so it's ridiculous to accuse him of lying when he had no way of knowing in 2003 what the court's decision would be. You can't lie about something which hasn't happened yet. The question really is whether Brian would go against the ruling of that court in future abortion legislation. You STILL have not shown anything saying he would do anything to disturb the abortion rights we currently have in this state, and his statements seem to me to indicate that he would be more likely to expand them.

b) Is Brian an "illeist"? Unless you're arguing that he's referring to himself in the third person and wrote his own campaign literature you're saying that he is personally lying because of a statement made in his campaign literature. So, not only should he have been psychic enough to know that the legislation he was voting for would not pass constitutional muster two years later; he must also be held to have uttered every single word of his campaign literature as if issued personally from his own mouth or pen. It can't be a lie if he didn't make the statement you're quoting.

cvllelaw's right. This pursuit of Pro-Choice Perfection is ultimately pointless.

Discussing any Moran issue with you is pointless

For whatever reason, you seem to lose common sense and powers of reasoning when it comes to Moran.

Here are the facts:

1. Brian voted for SB1205.
2. SB1205 was held Unconstitutional by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
3. Brian contends he "consistently opposed" all unconstitutional restrictions on a woman's right to choose.

Now, for you to conclude that Brian's statement was truthful because Brian did not knowingly vote for an Unconstitutional restriction is absurd. If that is how it works, a legislator could, hypothetically, vote to outlaw all abortions, and still claim to have never voted for an unconstitutional restriction, because, well, they would just say, "I thought it would be found Constitutional this time."

The bottom line is that I think this record warrants Brian Moran explaining his views and explaining what he was thinking when he voted in favor of this bill. As a Democratic voter, I'd like to know that.

For you, I guess, your own sophistry is sufficient to explain Moran's views on this issue.

I didn't assert that the statement was truthful

Rather, I was asserting that you cannot call it a lie. It might lack complete accuracy, but it's not a lie because one CAN'T lie about something that hasn't happened yet. YOU are the one accusing him of being of low character and lying about his record. Getting a bit testy, aren't we? Now I lack "common sense" and have "lost" my "powers of reasoning" and am committing "sophistry" because I've pointed out the flaws in your logic? Want to talk "common sense"? How does it make sense to keep flogging away at Brian's record as if you suspect the day he enters the governor's office he's going to reveal his lifetime membership in the National Right-to-Life Movement? The whole line of attack is ridiculous.


In addition to this 6 year old vote, both 3 & 2 years ago he voted to change Family Life Education to greater emphasize abstinence, the importance of heterosexual monogamous relationships, Virginia's laws addressing sex outside of marriage, and STDs. The code and that law specifies nothing to be included regarding prophylactics and their benefit in both preventing pregnancy as well as STDs. Then 2 years ago, he voted for a bill requiring doctors to offer to anesthetize a fetus prior to abortion and provide informational material to the patient about how the fetus might experience pain in the process.

Deeds has not voted on similar legislation because these bills never made it out of committee in the Senate. And, of course, we don't know about Terry since he has no legislative record.

I think it is perfectly valid given this track record to ask Moran what control he believes the state should put on individual reproductive choices and what role should the state should play in offering comprehensive sex education (not just abstinence). And going back to the original discussed bill, I fail to see how this isn't relevant today since the Commonwealth is defending this law in court (I believe that is still ongoing). Last I heard, former AG McDonnell asked for the case to be heard before the full 4th Circuit and a hearing was scheduled in October of last year. And if that doesn't work out, are we taking this up to SCOTUS? The original 4th Circuit ruling striking the law said that it had the effect of banning all abortions, to quote a portion:

...As a consequence, the federal statute does not prohibit — through fear of criminal liability — doctors from performing the standard D&E procedure, the procedure employed in the vast majority of (previability) second trimester abortions. In contrast, the Virginia Act has no provision requiring intent at the outset of the procedure. The Virginia Act thus imposes criminal liability on a doctor who sets out to perform a standard D&E that by accident becomes an intact D&E, thereby exposing all doctors who perform standard D&Es to prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment...

Does Moran feel today that this law that he voted for is: one, constitutional; two, would not effectively ban all D&E procedures in Virginia; and three, a law which he still supports. This isn't a litmus test. It is an attempt to better understand where he is on this complicated issue. And if the state decides to drop this in court, it will most likely come up again in the next session of the GA. So, the next Governor will most likely get a chance to review this same bill again albeit maybe with some updated language.

Haven't looked at the issue very hard, but...

I think that aznew asks the right question here -- it's not who is purest, but rather whether there are going to be significant differences in the choice landscape under any of the three Democratic governors? My guess is that the answer is "No." No bill that expands access to abortion will make it to the Governor's desk in the next four years, so if you ask "who is for us 100%," you are asking an irrelevant question. If you ask about the kinds of very narrow issues that might escape the badly split General Assembly, that is at least a relevant question, even if it is perhaps less helpful. So let's look at the specific kinds of issues that have come before the General Assembly -- must abortion clinics be upgraded to full emergency room standards? Or whether you have to anesthetize a fetus being aborted? Or whether you have to show a woman the ultrasound before she decides to have an abortion? Terry, of course, will have no record on any of it. Brian will have a record up until this year, and Creigh will have a record including this year (though he had an advantage -- the Senate Education and Health Committee kept killing the bills before they'd get to the floor of the Senate where he would have to vote).

Then, when you look at those issues, look at Bob McDonnell's record and public comments. You will find that whatever differences there may be among Terry, Brian and Creigh, they are small compared to the differences with McDonnell. No matter who the Democratic Governor is, he will be a heck of a lot better than the alternative.

Personally -- and I am a Creigh Deeds supporter -- I think that the quest to find the Perfect Pro-Choice Candidate is futile and ultimately not terribly helpful. The center of the political debate is, and will remain for at least the next four years, far away from Perfection.

Give Brian a Break...

I consider myself to be 90% pro-choice (the other 10% involves parental consent laws) and while I'm against partial birth bans, I find the procedure itself to be so patently disgusting and barbaric and really cant fault anyone for voting for the ban.

Why is it so hard for everyone who isn't voting for Brian to respect the fact that the he made a principled, unpopular decision in this matter. I can't help but notice alot of the same people who demanded that we give Josh the benefit of the doubt despite evidence to the contrary wont give the same courtesy to Brian. Brian's positions on abortion are well know and I cant help but notice you didn't have problems with it until now.

One more thing... Alan and Josh, I look forward to reading your next posts where you are equally as critical of Creigh for his support of the marriage amendment.

You can read my post now about it

m0grady, I have writted a half-dozen times about the Marshall-Newmann Amendment and Creigh's vote on it. I have said that Creigh needs to explain the vote. Creigh has addressed the issue repeatedly. Joel McDonald asked him about it on the record. I asked him about it on the record. Lowell Feld asked him about it on the record. Creigh answered all the question

Indeed, after I interviewed Creigh about it, I concluded I was ready to give Creigh the benefit of the doubt on the matter going forward on the matter, but only after he addressed the issue. And, I did not absolve him of his vote or explain it away as a triviality. Here is the post:

Here is what I said about his vote:

But records mean a lot of things, and people learn from experience. My own sense is that this vote and its fallout – and the forced public introspection that followed -- provided Sen. Deeds with the wisdom that comes from thinking seriously about a difficult moral, ethical and legal issue.

Given that, given my exchange with Sen. Deeds on Tuesday and other recent comments from the Senator, and fully cognizant of the strong and sincere feelings of many of many friends here at BC, I’m ready to put this issue to rest as far as Sen. Deeds’ record is concerned. However he got to where he got, Sen. Deeds views on the marriage issue today – “It ought to be matter of one’s own belief system” – will over the long term be the path forward for all freedom-minded Progressives, gay or straight.

Supporters of Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe can, and I’m sure will, continue to trot out the record of Sen. Deeds votes on this Amendment in order to suggest that Sen. Deeds is not a true Progressive, or won’t generate enthusiasm among party activities if he is the nominee.

That’s fair to do – this is politics, and the facts are the facts. I won’t defend Sen. Deeds votes on this amendment in the Senate.

So, yes, Moran's record raises questions, just as Creigh's record raised questions. I said both of them ought to clarify their positions.

Creigh has done so. If you don't like his answer, don't vote for him. But at least he is willing to answer the questions.