November 3, 2023

Hey, Joel Griffin: I’m Voting for Someone who Values My Life 

Guest post by SFLA Special Programs Coordinator Olivia Mullins

GUEST POST: This election season, I’ve seen far too many ads running for Joel Griffin, a candidate for Virginia State Senate. His narrative is replete with pro-abortion propaganda, and I’ve often been angered by the unethical content, wanting to tell him how I really felt about it as a voter. 

The other day, that wish came true.   

When I recently entered a coffee shop, I realized Griffin was sitting at the table right behind me. I recognized his face from all the ads, and an idea struck me. After briefly considering the potential consequences of talking to him and determining none of them were more important than saving babies, I said a prayer and turned around to make my voice — a pro-life voice — known. 

I greeted him with a smile, and he confirmed that he was in fact Joel Griffin. After introducing myself politely, I asked, “I was just wondering: what is your stance on abortion?” 

He gave me a typical politician non-answer, claiming to be in favor of equal rights for all people — so I decided to cut to the chase. I said, “Ok, when do you think life begins?” 



Again, not wanting to confront the issue at hand, he would not give me an answer. Since Griffin didn’t want to talk about science, I decided to give him a real-world example so that we could get to the heart of the issue…which also happens to relate to my heart, both metaphorically and literally. 

When my mother became pregnant with me, it wasn’t a good time for her. 

She was unmarried and not financially stable. Like many other women in this situation, she explored abortion. When she visited an abortion facility, the workers explained the procedure to her and showed her the vacuum they would use to commit the abortion on me. Horrified, she asked the abortionist the one question we would all want to know after hearing about such a gruesome process: “Is this baby alive?” 

They reluctantly showed her an ultrasound, and she was able to hear my heartbeat as well — but the facility workers told her not to feel guilty. About 10 weeks (two and a half months) along with me at that point, my mother’s eyes filled with tears when she saw me on the ultrasound screen. What she had known deep down was confirmed: this wasn’t “just a clump of cells.” I was her child, not just a choice. She bravely left the facility that day, and I am eternally grateful for that.  



I told Griffin a brief version of this story, and like others who have heard it, he had a moment of hesitation where he seemed to realize that there are faces to this issue. I am one of them, and I was right there, staring right back at him. 

It was a brief moment of realization, apparently. He proceeded to make a lame excuse about how it’s important that my mom had that choice and that his daughters and I should have that choice. 

I replied, “So, you’re saying my life was a choice?” 

He didn’t know what to say to that. Seeing that I made him think a little bit and grateful that he was still engaging, I continued to tell him that if he wants to protect his daughters, me, and the people of Fredericksburg, abortion isn’t the answer. It is damaging to women. It hurts us.  

At that point in the conversation, I realized that despite having shared such a personal story and standing right in front of him, he didn’t recognize my humanity. To him, I wasn’t equal to children who were planned and expected.  



As a last effort, I decided to speak to the one thing I knew he wanted most: my vote. I told him that because he’s not standing up to protect me and protect life, I would not be voting for him. He told me that was okay because he doesn’t expect to get everyone’s vote. (Apparently, rejecting my value and equality as a human being wasn’t enough — my value as a voter doesn’t matter to him, either). 

This is why Students for Life Action is working on the ground to compare the policy differences between Griffin and the pro-life candidate Tara Durant.  

For those voting anywhere in the nation, consider whether the politicians you’re electing care more about your vote than they do your humanity. I pray that one day Griffin will come to know the truth: every life is equal and deserves to be protected.  

EDITORS NOTE: Griffin lost his election.

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