A Republican Didn’t Really Suggest “Ankle Bracelets” as Punishment for Abortions October 22, 2019

A Republican Didn’t Really Suggest “Ankle Bracelets” as Punishment for Abortions

Republican Bill Drennan, who’s running for a State House seat in Virginia’s 87th District, is in the news after apparently proposing at least one bizarre idea that makes the loonier GOPers seem sane by comparison.

At a recent forum, held at Northern Virginia Community College’s Loudoun campus and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Loudoun County, Drennan and the other candidates were asked about gun policy. What legislation, if any, would they support?

In response, Drennan compared abortions in Virginia to the number of gun deaths before suggesting that women who want the procedure should have to wear ankle bracelets to stop them from getting one.

This is the video that went viral online:

The number of abortions in Virginia in 2017 was 17,210. The number of gun deaths, the misuse of guns was 1,041.

That’s a ratio of 16.5 to 1.

How about this? Contrarian. I’m going to impose commonsense restrictions on the constitutional right to an abortion: How about ankle bracelets?”

Before we talk about that comment, there are a few things about that statement that you should keep in mind.

First, the next words out of his mouth were, “I don’t think very many people would agree with that.” That suggests he was suggesting a hypothetical punishment — one that he doesn’t personally support — for the sake of being a contrarian. (That line didn’t appear in the viral clip.)

Why would he want to be a contrarian? That’s the second thing. Watch what happens immediately before those comments from the video of the full debate:

At around the 36:39 mark, there’s a glitch in the matrix. The video seems to skip (you can see this visually), suggesting the possibility that some of his words were omitted. It’s possible that Drennan could have said something like “We don’t want to punish gun owners with overreaching ‘common sense’ legislation for the same reason liberals wouldn’t like that when it comes to abortion.” (The League of Women Voters of Loudoun County told us any glitches were unintentional, and the first seconds of the full video say up front that some frames are missing.)

If that’s accurate, then his ankle bracelet comment has been wildly distorted to the point of being an unfair criticism of his views.

Notice, also, that his opponents don’t react at all to his outlandish statement. Had it been truly damning, surely someone would’ve capitalized on the opportunity to point out why Drennan couldn’t be trusted.

He may not deserve the benefit of the doubt, given his actual views, but the video, in context, raises the possibility that we’re not hearing the full story. (This website reached out last night to Drennan in multiple ways. He did not respond to our questions about the comments, his actual views, or the video glitch.)

In any case, the reason people think Drennan might be serious about the ankle bracelets is because conservatives have routinely punished women for having abortions. This would fall right in line with their belief that women shouldn’t have autonomy over their own bodies. Drennan is undoubtedly anti-choice. Right Wing Watch points out that, on his website, Drennan attacks Richmond Democrats for supporting “legislation that would have eliminated restrictions on third-trimester abortions and legalized infanticide.” That’s a lie. He also trots out the standard “life begins at conception” dogma that so many conservatives take to heart.

He was also asked whether he supported the Equal Rights Amendment, which promises equal rights (under the Constitution) for all American citizens regardless of gender. He dodged the question with a rather callous response:

The ERA has been dead for 37 years, so I don’t know how to respond to whether I support it or not… I do not support dead legislation.

It’s not technically dead. That’s still up for debate. But he could have easily said he supports the idea. He chose not to.

Drennan’s chief opponent, by the way, is Suhas Subramanyam, who supports “comprehensive solutions to reducing gun violence” and upholding “access to reproductive healthcare, including access to safe, legal abortion.”

Even if the video ends up being misleading, Drennan would still be a disaster of an elected official. There’s a better candidate on the ballot.

(via Blue Virginia)

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