Youngkin Hands Democrats Hidden Opportunity with Chief Diversity Officer Tweak

With the president’s presser, the Supreme Court giving the January 6th Committee the green light to get Trump’s records, and … um … the Administration cleaning up Biden’s mess from the presser, Governor Youngkin’s tweaks of the remit for the Chief Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion Officer received far less attention yesterday. Give it time, though, especially given this:

The Chief Diversity, Opportunity & Inclusion Officer will also work to promote ideas, policies, and practices to eliminate disparities in pre-natal care, and be an ambassador for unborn children.

Republicans love to use “unborn children” as a culture war dog whistle – usually because it’s effective. Far too many of my fellow Democrats fall into the outrage trap just on the word “unborn” – assuming the discussion will be dominated by all of the usual Abortion Greatest Hits: “murder” and “choice” are just two.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, Youngkin himself has shown Democrats how they can respond in a way that is better both for their electoral prospects and for the Commonwealth – including pre-born children.

Instead of trying to get rid of the CDO&IO entirely, Youngkin is using the post to put his own spin on what “diversity” means. There’s no reason Democrats can’t do the same thing about “protecting the unborn.”

Contrary to the conventional wisdom on the right, pre-Roe data does not suggest that a reversal of its successor, Casey v. Planned Parenthood, would actually reduce abortions. Economic support for parents is far more likely to do the job, by a factor potentially as high as ten.

Democrats have policies that can do much more to save pre-born children than uterus regulations. One of them, the expanded child tax credit, is at the center of Biden’s Build Back Better program (and frankly, it would be better to just keep it and scale back the rest, but I’ve already covered that ground).

So Democrats can – and should – do more than just complain about how Youngkin and his new CDO&IO define diversity. My party should be asking Angela Sailor the following:

  • In your role as ambassador for unborn children, will you be advocating for the extension of the 2021 child tax credit expansion?
  • In your role as ambassador for unborn children, will you be advocating for some form of paid family leave for parents?
  • In your role as ambassador for unborn children, will you be advocating for the creation of a child tax credit in Virginia?

I would note that last one requires actually proposing a Virginia child tax credit. Last I checked LIS Virginia (1/19/22, 9 PM), that bill had not been drafted. That needs to be addressed, pronto.

The larger point here is that Democrats actually have real policies that would help save real pre-born children. They can – and should – use them to engage in the debate. If Republicans aren’t afraid of “diversity,” we don’t have to be afraid of “unborn.”

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