With 19 kids (so far), it’s not surprising that the Duggars — stars of TLC’s reality program “19 Kids and Counting” and avid pushers of “traditional family values” — are notoriously anti-choice. Adamantly shunning birth control, which matriarch Michelle claims was responsible for a miscarriage early in her marriage, the Duggars have made procreating a profitable business, spawning not just their television show but book deals and endorsements as well.
However, politics is quickly becoming their favorite path into public spotlight, and the battle that they are waging against abortion access is growing almost as fast as the Duggar clan itself. What looked at first like a sidetrack off the beaten path of candidate support, pushing anti-abortion policy seems to have become their favorite pastime.
Hitting the road for political action is old news for the Duggars. Patriarch Jim Bob was once a legislator, and the whole family came out in support of Rick Santorum during the 2012 presidential election (though they later settled for Mitt Romney).
Advocating policy is a newer route. Many of the Duggars were in Ohio for a press conference to announce that a ban on abortions after a heartbeat can be detected, around 3 to 4 weeks post conception, was going to be reintroduced at the state house. Now it turns out that was just the first of their abortion ban advocacy projects.
The family recently announced it will be going to Tennessee to advocate in favor of Amendment 1, a ballot initiative that will expand the state’s ability to enact abortion restrictions, claiming that currently the state constitution upholds broader abortion rights than the federal constitution. If Amendment 1 passes, the state legislature could introduce more new abortion restrictions, including a 48 hour waiting period they have been interested in pursuing.
To the Duggars, Tennessee’s lack of abortion restrictions are apparently akin to Nazi concentration camps. “Tennessee does not even require parental consent, counseling beforehand, having a waiting period to think about it, or have minimal clinical standards,” said Michelle Duggar in a statement to Charisma News. “Veterinarian clinics for animals in Tennessee have higher standards in health and safety laws than there are for the abortion clinics involving human life. We must join together and end the baby holocaust that is taking place right here in Tennessee.”
But the “baby holocaust” in Tennessee can hold for a bit, since there are far more pressing concerns in Virginia. There, with just a few more weeks before the gubernatorial election, television’s biggest family will be joining the Family Research Council Action’s bus tour to stump for Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
“We are excited to travel across Virginia and express our enthusiastic support for Ken Cuccinelli for governor and E.W. Jackson for lieutenant governor,” said Josh Duggar, the eldest Duggar child, who was hired on as executive director of FRC Action last June. “Both of these men are deeply concerned about the issues impacting the family and our broader culture. FRC Action and the Duggar Family are honored to join grassroots activists and voters across Virginia as we promote the message that this election is vitally important in protecting and defending our rights and freedoms. Virginians have an opportunity to send a message at the ballot box that will be heard across the entire country.”
Considering Cuccinelli also crusades against abortion and birth control access, the entourage of Duggars on the campaign trail makes perfect sense.
So is this the beginning of a new era of Duggar politicking? Will GOP candidates increasingly vie for their blessing and urge them to make public appearances? Will we see them next at “personhood” rallies or press events for other abortion bans in other red states?
Maybe, but probably only between seasons. After all, they still have a television show to film.
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