July 22, 2017 / Press Releases

In First Debate of Gubernatorial Race, Dr. Ralph Northam Proves He Will Be a Champion for Virginia Families

July 22, 2017

Hot Springs, Va. – After gubernatorial candidates Dr. Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie faced off in the first debate of the general election, NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia praised Dr. Northam for his strong defense of Virginia women and families:

“There was only one candidate on stage today who knows what it means to protect healthcare for women and families, and that is Dr. Ralph Northam,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue. “At a time when President Trump is threatening to collapse the entire healthcare system, Virginia’s families need to know they have a real champion fighting for them and their families. Ed Gillespie has given no indication that he is that person. Virginians deserve a governor who is committed to standing up for their families, not a governor who will refuse to stand up to Donald Trump.”

“We know that seven in 10 Americans believe abortion should be legal and accessible,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “Gillespie’s extreme, anti-choice agenda is dangerous and out-of-touch with the needs of the Commonwealth. Virginia voters want access to basic healthcare, including abortion and contraception. When it comes to defending these basic rights, the choice for governor could not be more clear. While Ed Gillespie dodges tough questions about his record, Ralph Northam continues to stand as a champion for women and pro-choice voters couldn’t be more excited to support his campaign to be the next governor of Virginia.”

Rather than working to improve the lives of hard-working Virginians, Gillespie has spent his career trying to shame and punish women and families. Gillespie has called for abortion to be completely banned, one of the most extreme positions taken by any politician in the United States. He has openly supported teaching students that birth control is a “sin” and claims that restricting abortion is a“central role of government.” He has lobbied for groups with an anti-choice agenda and recentlystood with Vice President Mike Pence at a rally for an anti-choice group that calls abortion “the greatest human rights violation of our time.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”


Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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