by Andrea Moury
With the movement to cut off their state funding picking up speed in Virginia, Planned Parenthood is spending big with the hopes of getting a governor elected who will return the favor by keeping them funded.
In addition to dumping $3 million into Democratic candidate Ralph Northam’s campaign, the PAC of Planned Parenthood’s Virginia affiliate plans to knock on 300,000 doors, send mailers to 400,000 homes, and run digital and radio ads endorsing Northam and opposing his Republican rival, Ed Gillespie.
When it comes to the issue of abortion, the differences between Northam and Gillespie are clearly displayed. Northam has perfect 100 percent ratings from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. During his gubernatorial primary race, Northam even received NARAL’s endorsement, despite the fact that both he and his Democratic opponent received 100 percent ratings from the pro-abortion lobbying organization. That speaks to the fact of just how pro-abortion Northam is.
On the other hand, Gillespie, who previously served as Chair of the Republican National Committee, has said that he would support legislation to cut off state funds to Planned Parenthood. This is exactly why Planned Parenthood is getting so involved in this race.
Planned Parenthood knows that, had someone like Gillespie been in office just a few months ago, they would no longer be receiving state funds. In February, the GOP-controlled Virginia state legislature passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. However, the current Democrat governor, Terry McAuliffe, vetoed the bill. Planned Parenthood is determined that the next time a similar bill reaches the governor’s desk, he will again veto it.
When they announced their endorsement of Northam, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia expressed concern about what could happen to Planned Parenthood were Gillespie to be elected:
We’ve seen the incredible difference it makes to have a true champion for reproductive rights and health care access in the governor’s mansion, especially as the General Assembly continues to be dominated by zealously anti-choice politicians. That’s why the 2017 election for Governor McAuliffe’s successor is so critical. It will determine whether Virginia continues to move forward on ensuring reproductive health care access for all, or slides backward to renewed attacks on our basic rights.
Jennifer Allen, chief executive of Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, also stressed how high the stakes are for her organization. Although she claims it is all about “women’s health,” of course she really means “Planned Parenthood”:
Everything about women’s health is at stake. It’s really clear that Virginians want and need a fierce champion like Dr. Northam to stand up for them and to stand up for women’s health.
If Northam is elected, he will no doubt place Planned Parenthood’s financial desires ahead of babies’ lives. If Gillespie is elected, another bill to defund Planned Parenthood could get signed into law, not to mention other possible pro-life legislation. Indeed, the stakes could not be higher.
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0