By Cianti Stewart-Reid, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia
Voters in Virginia faced a clear choice when it came to women’s health and reproductive rights in the Virginia governor’s race. Ken Cuccinelli had spent his career trying to restrict women’s access to quality, affordable health care, while Terry McAuliffe rejected this type of government interference in women’s health and reproductive rights that we’ve recently seen in Richmond. The message sent in Virginia and across the country is clear – we want leaders who will protect and advance women’s health and reproductive rights.
In the past four years, politicians in Richmond have sought to undermine women’s access to health care with legislation like the medically unnecessary forced ultrasound requirement and targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP) that have already forced two women’s health centers to close and have dangerous implications on a woman’s ability to access safe and legal abortion and a wide range of preventive care like cancer screenings and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
With the results of the election, we will have new leaders in Richmond who will end this onslaught on women’s health and work to protect and expand women’s access to quality, affordable health care and reproductive freedom.
Moving forward, we will have a champion of women’s health in Virginia’s governor’s mansion. Terry McAuliffe has pledged to stand like a “brick wall” when women’s rights are under attack and will work to protect Virginia women’s access to birth control, preventive health care, and safe and legal abortion. He supports Medicaid expansion which would extend coverage to around 400,000 uninsured Virginians, including 169,000 women of reproductive age. That’s why we were proud to endorse him in this race and are thrilled with his victory.
Terry McAuliffe will have a strong advocate of Virginia women by his side with Ralph Northam as lieutenant governor. As a physician, Ralph Northam knows firsthand the importance of ensuring all Virginians have access to quality and affordable health care and having him as the likely tie-breaking vote in the state senate will help to protect reproductive health.
Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam will fight for women’s access to basic preventive health care, including birth control, and safe and legal abortion. Having a governor and lieutenant governor who won’t fight against access to birth control and preventive health care is a major policy improvement, and we look forward to new leaders in Richmond working to protect and advance women’s health and rights.