Virginia Del. Kathy Tran, whose bill to loosen restrictions on abortions sparked outrage from conservatives across the country, and two other lawmakers postponed a town hall meeting Saturday because of “security and safety concerns.”
State Sen. Scott A. Surovell, a co-host of the town hall and fellow Fairfax Democrat, said that Tran received online threats during the week and that local law enforcement was concerned about how to deal with possible protesters.
Surovell said the decision “had nothing to do with” revelations Friday about Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook page and a photo showing one man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe. Northam first admitted to being in the photo but reversed course Saturday. Discussions about the logistics of postponing the event were underway when news about the photo emerged, Surovell said.
Tran has said she “misspoke” during a legislative session about her bill and wished she had more clearly stated that it would not allow infanticide in Virginia, as some suggested after an edited clip of her testimony went viral on social media.
Tran said she and her family have received death threats through telephone messages, email and social media, leading to extra police protection for her and her family and difficult discussions with her young children. She could not immediately be reached for comment about the postponed town hall.
“While we are very disappointed to have to make this decision, the safety of our neighbors and constituents is paramount,” Tran, Surovell and state Sen. George L. Barker (D-Fairfax) wrote in a statement on Facebook.
The event was scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. at South County High School in Lorton.