SCOTT DREYER: Senator Edward Pro Choice on One Issue Only

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“There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” ? George Orwell, author of Animal Farm and 1984

In 2001 I took my family to Florida on vacation. Our first stop was the impressive Tampa Aquarium, and as a geography teacher, I noticed license plates and the various states they represent. In the aquarium’s parking lot a bright yellow plate caught my eye and it said, “Choose Life — Florida.” I later learned such license plates–which vehicle owners can buy voluntarily–generated an income stream for agencies that help with adoptions.

At that time, Virginia did not yet offer such license plates, so when the General Assembly took up that bill a few years later, I was excited about it. So you can imagine my disappointment when I learned my state senator –John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke)–had voted against the bill. Incredulous, I called his office to ask why Edwards would vote against an innocuous license plate that generated income for adoptions. His legislative assistant (LA) answered my call. (To his credit, twenty years ago, Edwards’ staff were responsive enough to answer their phones. In contrast, over the past few years, I have noticed that when I call it almost always goes to voicemail–and that was even before the pandemic.) 

So when I asked his LA why Edwards had voted against the “choose life” license plate bill, she flatly replied: “Senator Edwards is pro-choice.”

To which I asked: “If Senator Edwards is pro-choice, then why didn’t he give me and other Virginians the “choice” to buy a ‘Choose Life’ license plate?” 

Awkward silence. 

My follow-up question: “If Senator Edwards is pro-choice, then this coming May can I be “pro-choice” too and “choose” not to pay my state taxes? 

She remained unamused, and that showed me clearly the intellectual dishonesty behind the whole “pro-choice” verbiage. Since the word “choice” has a positive connotation–just like “slender” sounds better than “scrawny”–”pro-choice” sounds a whole lot better than labeling oneself “pro-abortion.” But if you are intellectually honest and pay attention to what we are hearing, you will notice the “choice” behind “pro-choice” is almost always abortion.

Of course, Edwards voting against the “Choose Life” license plates was an “anti-choice” act. He wanted to deny Virginians that “choice” of plate for their vehicles, which of course they pay for with their own money. (A later General Assembly did–over Edwards’ consistent “no” votes–approve the “Choose Life” license plates, which we often see on the roads today. That goes to show, “elections have consequences.”)

Edwards still boasts of being “pro-choice”–but if you strip away the misleading talk and look at his voting records, you will see how radically “anti-choice” he is on many issues. Let’s take a look at a few of his votes in the current General Assembly now meeting in Richmond.

SB (Senate Bill) 1235: Did you know, the Virginia Department of Health has been sending colorful postcards with cartoon figures in the mail to minors in Virginia? The cards entice the youth with “Do you want to know more about sex or relationships? Text or call this number….” Parents were unaware these were landing in their mailboxes, and there is nothing on the card or in the process to notify or involve the parents or guardians in this. I know lots of young parents who were white-hot outraged that a state agency–using their tax dollars–would go behind their backs to connect their minor children with a total stranger located who knows where, to talk about sex, their bodies, and who knows what other intimate subjects. SB 1235 aims to put the kibosh on that, and thankfully it passed the Virginia Senate, 20-Yes 19-No. Edwards was a “no.” So, Edwards is pro-choice on a woman getting an abortion but anti-choice on a woman knowing if her child is discussing sex or intimate bodily details with a total stranger in another city. 

SB 1303: We all know many schools have been shut down or else only offering instruction one or two days a week. Who knows what mental and emotional damage this is inflicting on young people, not to mention the incalculable cost as these youth are missing key parts of their education they will probably never make up. SB 1303–sponsored by the only medical doctor in the General Assembly–would require public school boards that are not offering full in-person learning to make in-person or virtual options available to parents. For instance, while many government schools are closed, lots of private schools are open Monday-Friday. Why not give parents the option–ok, the “choice”–to attend those private schools that are open? I know parents who are beside themselves because they still have to work but also have to manage homeschool, online assignments that often make no sense to the child or parent, and daycare while their children are home three days a week or more. And this is going on twelve months now.   SB 1303  passed the Senate 26 Yes-13 No, but Edwards was a “no.”  Again, Edwards is pro-choice on a woman getting an abortion but anti-choice for a woman to have school options for her family while government schools are shuttered. 

I could go on about Edwards’ support for SB 1310, the “Nanny State” bill that could get you sued for hiring a woman over a man as a babysitter, attacks on freedom of conscience, “nondiscrimination” bills which in fact discriminate against people who happen to disagree with Edwards and his agenda, etc. Edwards also voted for SB 1406, to legalize marijuana. Maybe he figures, along with his Democrat colleagues, that the more Virginians are high and stoned, the less we will realize we are getting robbed blind of our livelihoods and freedoms. 

In Southwest Virginia, we believe in hard work, fair play, and common decency. Our region deserves better. 

Scott Dreyer in his classroom.

– Scot Dreyer