Competing Republican Southwest Virginia lawmakers spar over abortion | Govt. & Politics

Over the renewed nationwide topic of abortion, two Republican state delegates running against each other are moving to stake their own ground.

A few hours after Del. Marie March, R-Floyd, said on Facebook she plans to carry a “Life at Conception Bill” in the Virginia General Assembly next year, Del. Wren Williams, R-Patrick, issued a statement calling for March to withdraw from their shared race for House District 47, citing a Facebook post March made in 2019.

“Marie March is Pro-Choice. There is no other way to interpret her comments,” Williams said, in response to the Feb. 2019 post March made on what he referenced as a personal Facebook account. “A Pro-Choice Liberal does not fit the Pro-Life conservative values of this district.”

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Both of the first-term delegates co-sponsored an anti-abortion bill during the 2022 lawmaking session.

Williams, after a recent leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, was one of the first state legislators to defend the potential change.

In an email, March said Williams should drop out for the District 47 House race for what she said is a dishonest political stunt.

“Mr. Williams is using the lives of unborn babies as political fodder to derail my attempts to lead pro-life legislation,” March said. “His negative smear is an attempt to drag me down with him into the Swamp where he is comfortable.”

In the 2019 Facebook post called into question by Williams, March said there is much polarization around deciding to terminate a pregnancy, and called for more respect as a solution to divisive politics.

“Everyone loves babies and would never want to terminate their pregnancy,” the post said. “However, many of my friends don’t want Big brother deciding what they can do with their bodies and I GET IT!”

The 2019 Facebook post said government should be unbiased and neutral, uninvolved in financial support or illegality of abortions. Williams said the post makes March’s position clear, but March this week said Williams is being deceitful.

“I am 100% pro-life and will continue to lead the efforts to push forward and pass my legislation to protect life at conception across Virginia,” March said. “I will continue to spend my efforts working for positive, meaningful accomplishments for our district and for all Virginians.”

Abortion is a renewed topic of interest across the nation, after the draft opinion leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The spat between March and Williams comes ahead of an anticipated Republican primary election for House District 47, covering Carroll, Floyd and Patrick counties, plus western Henry County and Galax. That election is currently expected for 2023.

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