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Favola Mailers Focus on Abortion

by ARLnow.com October 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm 5,818 106 Comments

Campaign mailers authorized by Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola’s state Senate campaign have increasingly focused on one central theme: abortion.

While the 31st District state Senate campaign started out on a surprisingly positive note, mailers paid for by the Democratic Party of Virginia and authorized by Favola have now gone negative. The mailers contain sentences like: “Caren Merrick will stand with extremists against a woman’s right to choose” and “Tea Party Republican Caren Merrick doesn’t share our values.”

At least two such mailers have been sent to 31st District residents in as many weeks. Two earlier Democratic mailers focused more on Favola’s positives — including support for education and Arlington’s low unemployment rate — although both also made reference to her commitment “to protect a woman’s right to choose.”

Previously held by the now-retired Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, the 31st District became a lot less Democratic after this year’s redistricting process (44.4 percent of the redrawn district voted for Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, compared to 34.7 percent of the old district). Favola is apparently betting on abortion being the issue that convinces complacent Democrats, used to easy state Senate victories, to go to the polls.

Merrick’s campaign, meanwhile, has remained overwhelmingly positive — focused on issues like jobs, the economy and Merrick’s business background —  much to the surprise (and, in some cases, delight) of local Democratic operatives. In debates and in her campaign literature, Merrick largely avoids social issues like abortion and gay marriage.

Last week, the Merrick campaign issued a statement decrying “mudslinging” from Favola.

“The Merrick campaign believes Ms. Favola, is using false, negative campaign tactics to hide her 14 year record on the Arlington County Board where she has ignored the wishes and concerns of local civic associations, increased spending 70%, increased her own pay by 59%, and filed a 2 million dollar lawsuit halting critical transportation solutions and naming government workers personally liable,” the campaign said.

  • Thes

    What about these mailers is “false”?

    • The statement quoted isn’t about the mailers specifically. It’s unclear which “false… tactics” the statement was referring to.

      • Thes

        I recognize that’s a direct quote. But it doesn’t make much sense grammatically. How can a “tactic” be “false”? What is Merrick even referring to. Sounds very vague.

  • G Clifford Prout

    RRReeerrrraahh Cat Fight

    • Josh S

      Ah, yes, the grown up Arlington voter…..

  • Chris

    Isn’t this a bit like opposing a county board candidate because of, say, their views on monetary policy? Who cares? There is 0% chance the Arlington County Board is going to do anything affecting abortion.

    • Arlingtoon

      Um…they’re running for a State Senate seat.

      • GetReal

        still 0% chance they will do anything that affects abortion. they toss it around as an issue but i don’t care who is in office, a women’s right to choose will never change.

        • AllenB

          Not true at all – they can put restrictions on abortion, abortion clinic regulations, etc.

          • novasteve

            OMG that’s horrible! I guess we shouldn’t have any regulations on cars or your homes or anything else. Funny how someone like you would love to see more regulations on firearms. Isn’t it? Which is explicit in the constitution?

          • AllenB

            Nice red herring move, trying to change the topic from Favola’s mailer on abortion to gun rights. The original commenter said this race would have no impact on abortion rights in VA and several of us pointed out how that wasn’t true.

            Go hyperventilate on another topic.

        • Don Ager

          Not true at all, and obviously you have not been paying attention to Virginia news in the last couple months…
          “In approving the restrictions, Virginia joins a growing list of other states whose Republican-controlled legislatures have rolled back abortion rights.”


        • Don Ager

          Obviously you haven’t been paying attention to Virginia news in the last couple months. The Assembly passed legislation that will require abortion clinics in the commonwealth to maintain, among other things, hospital quality standards that will in some cases, if not most, cause clinics to close due to to high financial burden to meet those standards. They will also have to meet government inspections which have been either nil or lacks in the past. The rules are most likely to take effect January 1st.

          • novasteve

            What’s wrong with hospital quality standards, especially given the pro abortion people always say the alternative are unsanitary back alley abortions? now you have a problem with standards?

          • Don Ager

            If you read my posts below you will see my opinion on this. I wrote the above that you are commenting on in an as objective manner as possible to state the facts of how a state legislation can affect abortion laws, etc.

          • Lou

            It should be a comforting feeling for women to know that outpatient facilities where abortions are performed in Virginia are constructed and operated to meet minimum health care, infection control and life safety standards, which they currently are not required to do. The new standards were debated publicly and the State Board of Health listened to all sides before voting on the new recommendations.

          • Novanglus

            They are “outpatient facilities”. And they are currently required to be “constructed and operated to meet minimum health care, infection control and life safety standards” of “outpatient facilities”.

            But the legislation requires them to meet the standards of _hospitals_, which is a much more expensive burden than the standards for outpatient centers. And completely unnecessary for this procedure.

          • Lou

            Do the new regulations require them to have a back up emergency power system like hospitals do? What about smoke separation compartments or pressurized stairways for smoke control? What about a fire alarm system that is monitored 24/7 by an offsite facility?

            Those are just a few hospital standards. What “hospital standards” were you referencing?

          • Maeve

            My understanding is that some of the “hospital” regulations which seem ridiculous for these clinics include onsite food services, much larger hallways and doorways than required for other outpatient facilities, and similar requirements. At this point, however, the details of these regulations are yet to be ironed out, so the end result is anyone’s guess.

            It was never a secret that the intent of the legislation was to make the burden of operating these facilities unmanageable, not to address any existing problems with health and safety.

          • Novanglus

            All it requires is the same standards as hospitals – the details haven’t been announce. But if back-up emergency power, smoke separation compartments and pressurized stairways aren’t necessary for birth, endoscopy, wisdom tooth removal, or other outpatient services, why require them only for this class of procedures?

          • Lou

            The new regulations are right here, y’all can read them for yourselves.


            My point was that they are not making them meet every hospital regulation. They are classifying them as outpatient facilities similar to where you might go have a breast biopsy for example. This is a cross-industry trend affecting the whole range of outpatient medical facilities that are receiving much more scrutiny about safety and design standards.

            You should know that the trend is not about treating abortion clinics like hospitals, it is about treating more outpatient facilities as if they were outpatient surgical facilities. Those are the standards referenced in the new legislation, not hospital standards.

            Now, it is true that outpatient surgical facilities are being treated more “like” hospitals and burdened with new regulations, but they are still considered a separate type of healthcare facility with less strict requirements than hospitals.

            The trend over the last 15 years is that many more complex procedures are being performed on an outpatient basis in buildings that do not meet hospital standards. There are numerous reasons for this; too many to go into. But state boards of health are reacting to the reality by ratcheting up the requirements for the buildings where this is happening. Again, it’s everything from having your knee replaced to biopsies, and yes abortions. And no, they are not making them meet all hospital regulations, just a core group of safety and procedural requirements.

          • Lou

            Sorry, I forgot to add that the link in my post above goes directly to a pdf.

        • Skeptical

          Are y’all on drugs? All over the US right up to Capitol Hill there are people hustling laws and ordinances intended to make abortion unavailable.

          Virginia is one of the worst states. Every five minutes the General Assembly (the body involved in this campaign) considers some measure intended to make it impossible for a woman — a poor woman anyway — to get an abortion when she needs it.

          I have this quaint idea that the insides of people’s bodies are their own to do with as they choose, so even if I think Favola is a self-promoting nitwit, she’s my nitwit in this particular election.

        • Tarina

          Apparently, you haven’t been reading or watching the news in Virginia over the last 6 months. The state’s clinics are basically being regulated out of business… meaning without access to abortion… abortion is banned.
          This is a VERY relevant issue of the day. Take a look at what is happening at the federal level too.

  • novasteve

    When is the election?

    • Thes

      There is an election on Tuesday, November 8. Arlington voters will elect their state senators, state delegates, two of the five county board members, a school board member, commonwealth’s attorney, sheriff, treasurer and commissioner of revenue.

      If you are going to be out of Arlington for part of the day (for example, because you work outside Arlington on weekdays) you can vote by absentee (including two Saturdays before the eleciton) at the Arlington County voter registrar’s office.

  • JimPB

    What is Caren Merrick’s position regarding abortion?

    • Thes

      At the Arlington County Civic Federation debate Merrick said she was “pro-life”.

    • yequalsy

      In a sense it doesn’t matter. A vote for Merrick is a vote to give the Republicans a majority in the Senate. It’s perfectly appropriate and politically smart for Favola to point that out, just as it was perfectly appropriate and politically smart for the Repubs to point out that a vote for moderate Democrats — Chet Edwards, for example — was a vote to put Nancy Pelosi in power.

  • Aaron

    And if enough GOPers win, THEY MIGHT LEGALIZE RAPE!!!

    • Eyes roll back into head….

    • R

      I hear they are going to re-institute slavery too…the south shall rise again.

  • Bender

    Don’t tell me that “no one is pro-abortion.”

  • Don Ager

    I, as a moderate Democrat, need to remind Ms. Favola that being pro-life is NOT extremist. It may differ from her view, however it does not make this Pro-Life Democrat an extremist. I believe in a full pro-life view that abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia and non-just wars are inherently wrong.

    • brian

      thanks for bringing some sense to the discussion.

      • Chad

        Can’t tell if serious….

    • novasteve

      “non-just” war is very subjective, while the death penalty and abortion are less subjective.

      Euthanasia, so long as it’s voluntary, what’s the problem? Involutary euthanasia of course should be outlawed, and I’m afraid it’s going to become common with cost cutting and rationing of healthcare in the future especially given the population.

    • AllenB

      Your abortion views are in the minority among Democrats. It’s smart of Favola to point this out to increase turnout among the Dems in Arlington.

      • novasteve

        The louder and more annoying Fovala gets, the more likely I’ll vote , and that will mean for republicans.

      • Don Ager

        Show me a poll where my pro-life opinion is in the minority within Americans who identify themselves as Democrats? I believe that 51% of americans as a whole oppose abortion for some or all circumstances. I’m willing to bet that a large percentage of Democrats also oppose abortion under at least some circumstances.

        • AllenB
          • Don Ager

            32% of all Democrats in that poll classify themselves as Pro-Life. I consider that a large number.
            And I’m wondering if they had broken the question down to whether abortion should be legal under all circumstances or under some circumstances or not at all. The number would rise by pulling across some of the pro-choice Democrats who oppose abortion under some circumstances.
            Unfortunately this poll below doesn’t break down the respondents by party: http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx#1
            I think these questions are more revealing than simply using “pro choice” or “pro life” as the criteria.

          • AllenB

            I said your views are in the minority. You asked for proof. 32% is a minority view.


          • Don Ager

            I did ask you to show me a poll showing that. and you did. So thank you for the poll. However, I didn’t say that I believed a majority of Dems are pro life.

            I did say I’d bet that a large percentage of Democrats also oppose abortion under at least some circumstances. I consider and I think most pollsters would agree that 32% is a large percentage. That’s a large voting block within the Democratic party to offend and marginalize by calling them extremists.

        • pro choice

          Yes, a majority of Americans believe that abortion should be legal. But in a way, that doesn’t matter. The Supreme Court has decided that it IS legal within certain restrictions. Freedom isn’t decided only my majority views.

          • Don Ager

            Actually all of the legitimate polls in the last couple years place the split evenly, taking into account the margins of error, amongst Americans who are pro choice and pro life.
            Our nation truly is divided on this issue.

  • DLGlenCarlyn

    Looks like Barbie & the “Richmond Democrats” are getting worried and desperate … time to bring divisive social issues into the campaign and distract the voters.

    • AllenB

      This isn’t a desparation move at all. The VA legislature has a history of trying to restrict abortion rights by any means possible and this mailer is talking about a very relevant topic – Merrick’s views and how she would probably vote if she was elected.

    • Josh S

      Yeah, hardly desperate. A fairly standard play to the sentiments of most / many Democratic voters. Unfortunately, divisive social issues and distracting the voters is the name of the game in US election politics, pretty much nationwide and certainly without regard to party.

      All in all, it’s a yawner of a flyer, IMHO. (Especially since a substantial percentage go staight into the circular file without even being examined.)

  • Barbara Favola is clearly the better candidate and we in Arlington should continue to support her.

    She has my vote and always will. She understands Arlington issues and has been very effective in supporting Arlington residents.

    Will always support her.

    • Ballson Bobbie

      Thank you Barbara Favola.

  • ArlLawyer

    Boy did Arlnow.com blow it this time. Your statement: “Merrick’s campaign, meanwhile, has remained overwhelmingly positive…” is dead wrong. Have you looked in your mailbox today. Three pages of Ms. Merrick’s four-page mailer does nothing but attack Ms. Favola — in the most negative way that I’ve seen in a long time — including with a headline — “Too extreme to represent us” — atop a full page of shots at what the county board, not necessarily Ms. Favola, has done over the past five years. Arlnow.com is usually “fair and balanced” in a good way, not the Fox News way. Let’s hope that you try to continue in that tradition.

    • Chad

      I’m so angry!

    • We cannot predict the future, sadly. This article was published before the mail arrived.

      • ArlLawyer

        I await, with anticipation, your article on the Merrick mailer.

        • CW

          I agree with you. Write one story on mailers and you have to write a story on every mailer..

    • Suburban Not Urban

      “County board, not necessarily Ms. Favola” – have you looked at a voting record for any of that period – the county board votes roughly 98% as a 5-0 vote.

  • Paco

    Oh please. Merrick’s entire campaign is based on saying warm, fuzzy things that no one opposes: “jobs creation,” “pro-transportation,” “better schools,” while avoiding anything that would indicate she’s a Virginia Republican who would damn sure be required to back the Bob McDonnell/Ken Cuccinelli agenda the day she gets to Richmond.

    Her slick, expensive brochures only mention the “R” word in the mailing address!

    So good for Favola and the Dems focusing on one of the top REAL issues that will be decided in the state senate.

    • brian

      kind of like the current Commander in Chief?

      • Josh S

        I don’t think Obama is required to back the McDonnell / Cuccinelli agenda…..

  • Chris

    I for one will be starting a new movement, “Occupy Babs” where I plan to go sit in her parking space(s) and play the bongos until she either mails me some cupcake and pizza slice coupons or Russell Simmons agrees to hang out with me. If you’re going to join me, please bring funnel cake.

  • R

    Of course, vote for the Republican and they will overturn Roe v. Wade and make abortion illegal…I guarantee it! Seriously, I’ve been hearing that same tired line from candidates and liberals in every election since 1973. Whether it is for President with Reagan, Bush Sr. and Dubba or on a State level with Republican Governor’s going back to Dalton in 1978. It is just getting old to hear it over and over, but somehow when Republicans get elected, abortion doesn’t become illegal. Dubba was in the White House with total control of congress for 4 years and nothing changed. Republican governors had republican state legislators and nothing changed…the last time I checked, Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land and it is still fairly easy for any woman who wants to get an abortion in Virginia or this country as a whole to get one. And I think a majority of people in this country do favor some restrictions on abortion, such as late-term or in the case of these “changes” that are being spoke of, making sure clinics meet certain sanitary health standards. And I’m sure plenty of you all will just call me some right-winger, but I’m actually very pro-choice and the furthest thing from some right-wing religious nut-job.

    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      “Fairly easy?” Obviously you do not read the daily papers. The Republican Christianists are working as hard as they can to make it as INCONVENIENT as possible to obtain a legal abortion. Such as passing regulations that put smaller clinics out of business, requiring patients to come back another day for a 2nd visit, and requiring doctors to perform unnecessary additional procedures as Ms. Bachmann is currently attempting to do.

      • Steve

        That’s what liberals do with our second amendment. At least the 2nd amendment is clear. Even justice Ginsburg, a strong liberal on the court, says Roe was HORRIBLY decided. Just a horrible decision. It’s joked aout in law school it’s such a joke.

      • Don Ager


      • Are they working as hard as you are to convince the world that all Republicans are hard-core right wing religious nuts?

      • R

        And to use your “logic” the Godless Liberals are working hard to take things to the other extreme. And what ends up being the case on most issues, we as a country end up somewhere in the middle…no outright ban on abortions and no unlimited access to them with no restrictions. And my point was that no matter if a Republican, even a “Republican Christianist” like G.W Bush or George Allen, with legislatures led by other “Republican Christianists” passed laws to make abortion illegal nor has a Conservative Supreme Court overturned Roe. So, to wrap this back to the original topic, Favola is attacking Merrick on a issue that really she isn’t going to make a difference on much like no liberal should not be elected because an opposing Republican candidate says they are going to drastically loosen abortion laws. And again, I’m hardly religious and not a right-winger, just a typical middle of the road American that tries to use common sense and take all the b.s. out of politics, elections and what garbage candidates spew from their usually lying mouths.

    • Paco


      Thank the lord W. didn’t get enough vacancies on the Supreme Court. Abortion rights are disappearing in many parts of the country.

      And with your “so tired” attitude, organizations like Planned Parenthood, which do a lot to provide women with free health services not related to abortion, are losing funding in many states.

      • Josh S

        Uh, maybe just thank Souter and Stevens for not retiring earlier….

      • R

        The Supreme Court has been fairly Conservative for a long time and thus far Roe v. Wade has held for 38 years. All W did was replace fairly conservative justices with other fairly convservative justices. And here’s your feree history lesson Paco, if you want to thank any President for appointing Justices that ideologically would seemingly go your way over the last 20+ years, you might want to thank Bush Sr. for not properly vetting Souter or as some would argue actually not using ideology in picking a Justice as is the norm. To tie it back into Favola and her statements that Merrick would essentially be a vote to eliminate abortion, NOW & Planned Parenthood protested outside of Souter’s confirmation hearings saying he would end all freedom for women and the right to choose and opposing Senators said he was a right-wing extremist, but he has been consistently one of the most liberal Justices. Oh, and by the way, better watch that “Thank the Lord”, a few more Sotomeyer’s and Kagan’s and you will be prohibited from any mention of the Lord in the public square.

        • Josh S

          Roberts for Rhenquist was basically a wash, although I’d say Roberts probably leans even farther right than Rhenquist did.

          However, Alito for O’Connor is a clear shift to the right. W most definitely succeeded in shifting the court to the right.

          That being said, I think we can generally say that Supreme Court justices are, by nature, conservative. With a little ‘c’. As they should be. And yes, not every nomination has turned out the way the pundits thought it would. Most justices, with the marked exception of Thomas (arguably the worst Justice of all time), are willing to listen and be persuaded by argument, reason and precedent. This means some votes are cast in ways that wouldn’t necessarily be predictable ahead of time based on purely political / ideological viewpoint.

          If Roe was reargued today, I doubt the same decision would be reached.

          Spare us the trash about “any mention of the Lord in the public square.” It’s ridiculous and I suspect (hope) you know it.

  • Sad voter

    A right-wing-nut or boring paste? Too bad the state Republicans focus on religious right when legislating — otherwise, some normal people might actually vote republican once in a while. However, knowing that Merrick will goose-step along with any right wing craziness leaves me no choice but to vote for the boring glue-like paste, also know as Babs.

    • Godwin

      That was quick.

    • brian

      so there is something wrong with having morals?

      • Winthrop

        What? Is Merrick telling voters about all the crazy right-wing nonsense that she will support as part of her caucus? No, she is not.

        If she is anti-choice, then she should run on position. Similarly, if she will vote to allow guns in churches/restaurants/parks/etc., then she let the voters know now.

        Merrick would be a junior senator who simply marches along with any nonsense put forth by her caucus. Thus, no vote from me and many others.

      • Cate

        In my book, telling other women what they can do with their bodies is immoral.

        • I think you mean what they can’t do. You don’t want to be told you can’t get an abortion.

          Women (and men) are told every day they can’t shoot up heroin, smoke PCP or crack, or any other number of drugs. Do you have a problem being told that as well?

          • Cate

            Being pro-choice means believing that a woman can choose whether or not to have children, whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, whether or not to have as many children as they want. It means it’s nobody else’s business.

            Ergo, I’m not even going to touch that drugs issue, because it is a completely different thing. Talk to a libertarian about that, not me.

          • Ballson Bobbie

            The post you first responded to, and your first post, do not mention the words “pro-life”. You said telling a woman what to do with her body is immoral. OB seems to be making a point that you meant on abortion only and NOT on other things.

  • Favola says that Caren Merrick doesn’t share our values.

    In my case, Favola does not share my values and she won’t get my vote.

    • Maria

      Then I’m pretty sure she wasn’t targeting you.

      • Actually, if you get her mailer she was.

        • Maria

          Clearly I meant when she said “our” values.

  • Homeowner

    For someone who, according to all her anonymous frontmen in the blogosphere, is going to win in a landslide, Babs continues to seem pretty desperate.

    • Apartmentrenter

      I, enjoy, using, commas, inappropriately.

      Isn’t it funny that the little voice in your head pauses at each of those commas?

      • No.

      • Please Grammar Don’t Hurt ‘Em

        He set off his dependent clauses within commas, which is correct.

        • Maria


      • drax

        All those commas were completely appropriate and grammatically correct. They separated dependent clauses.

        Here, try reading it without commas:

        For someone who according to all her anonymous frontmen in the blogosphere is going to win in a landslide Babs continues to seem pretty desperate.

        Don’t forget to breathe.

    • That’s because the ONLY thing she has going for her is the letter D.

  • Chris Slatt

    Am I the only one who considers “mud-slinging” to be personal attacks and not “this is how my opponent feels about this issue”?

  • Jesus Christ

    FREE ABORTIONS FOR ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • mickey644

    Why would this be important for Favola to point out? What does that have to do with the election? No vote for Favola just because she brought it up! Go spread the manure someplace else!

    • Paco

      Um, like, abortion rights are kinda of important to people, especially women.

      Because the same Republicans who say they want government to get out of people’s lives usually want to tell women what they can and can’t do with their own bodies.

      And those Republicans are supporting Carren Merrick and Carren Merrick has said she will support their agenda, at least on this issue.

      • Skeptical


  • Tenley

    We need more pro-choice women like Favola in office. I’m voting for her.

  • jjbug1

    Wow, the pregnant women are totally missing in all these comments!

    My niece in MA, at one point in a pregnancy was told by her doctor at the hospital that the fetus was dead. However, that doctor, under hospital rules, was prohibited to remove the dead fetus until the full term had finished. She had to wait for the “birth”, said the doctor. Luckily she was able to travel to a community where a abortion clinic existed and was relieved of the dead fetus before the end of the term.

    Is it not obvious that this demand for an abortion must be heeded? Why should she wait to die because the dead fetus will not attempt to be born?

    Please, friends, tell the stories of women – not the stories of political advantages available in arguing this question!

    • Unfortunate

      That anyone could believe this story as written is sad.

      Just when would “full term”… oh, nevermind.

  • TGEoA

    Some Favola signs on the median flew out of the ground and landed in the trash can.

    A miracle!

  • R0bespierre

    Good. “Liberty” is on our damn money for a reason. Our forefathers fought and died for the concept. People need to be aware of anti-liberty candidates who believe in mediaval crap like forced concubinage.

  • Plunkitt of Clarendon Blvd

    Vote for Babs…that is the only way we will be able to get rid of her !!!

  • NJtransplant

    These mailers have only reminded me to vote FOR Merrick. I’m pro-life, too. How very frightening, I know.

  • dockywocky

    The big, bad, Tea Party members are threatening the very repu…er!…the very democracy liberal progressive Democrats are dependent on for their very sustinance.

    Why have a republic if half the nerds don’t even know what it is.


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