The political lobbying affiliate of Planned Parenthood in Virginia has announced its plans to spend $3 million to back Democrat and current Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in the state’s gubernatorial election.
Northam is running against Republican candidate Ed Gillespie.
In a statement to the Hill, Gillespie campaign spokesman Dave Abrams said the GOP candidate supports ending taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
“It’s no surprise that Planned Parenthood would spend millions of dollars on Ralph Northam’s behalf, given his extreme positions like supporting abortions in the eighth or ninth month or just because the unborn child is a girl,” Abrams said. “Most of Planned Parenthood’s funding comes from individual donors, and Ed does not support subsidizing their budget with taxpayer dollars.”
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) August 3, 2017
— Ralph Northam (@RalphNortham) August 3, 2017
“Gillespie’s plan could take away birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and HIV testing for the over 23,000 Virginians who depend on Planned Parenthood,” Jennifer Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC and Planned Parenthood Virginia Advocates, also told the Hill.
Gillespie, who once chaired the Republican National Committee (RNC), was expected to win the GOP primary race easily but ended up only narrowly edging past Corey Stewart, who served as Donald Trump’s Virginia campaign chairman. During the primary race, Stewart referred to Gillespie as “Establishment Ed,” and accused him of being soft on opposition to abortion.
Gillespie attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C. in January, and met with Vice President Mike Pence, who addressed the pro-life activists on the National Mall.
On his campaign website, Gillespie states:
When it comes to the issue of life, I am informed not only by my Faith, but by advancements in science. I am pro-life and will defend and protect innocent human life, from conception to natural death. Life is not an issue that should be politically demagogued or exploited. We can and should address this topic with care and compassion. When we do, I know the cause of life will prevail.
“We need pro-life leaders at every level of government, which is why I will be a pro-life governor for Virginia, Gillespie also writes.
Current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) vetoed a bill in February that would have allowed his state to redirect Medicaid funding from abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood to other federally qualified healthcare centers (FQHCs) that are more numerous and provide more comprehensive care.
— PPAVirginia (@PPAVirginia) February 21, 2017
As of the end of July, the Virginia governor’s race was in a dead heat, according to the Monmouth University poll.