We’re less than two weeks away from one of the biggest elections for reproductive choice in Virginia in years. On Tuesday, November 8, Virginians will go to the polls to vote on all 140 General Assembly seats. All this week on the blog, we are spotlighting pro-choice candidates of the day in key races across the state, so you know who will stand up for women’s rights and health in Richmond and who we’re working to help elect this fall!
Today we continue our pro-choice spotlight by heading to the Tidewater and Eastern Shore region of Virginia and Senate District 6, which encompasses all of Accomack, Northampton and Mathews counties, and portions of the cities of Virginia Beach and Norfolk.
In this race, Senator Ralph Northam is the pro-choice candidate.
Senator Northam, an M.D. specializing in pediatric neurology, has been an outspoken and tireless champion for women’s health while in the state Senate. Like other senators in this week’s spotlights, Senator Northam is a vital member of the Senate Committee on Education and Health, where bills dealing with abortion and reproductive choice and health are heard. Strong pro-choice leadership on this committee is one of the last obstacles in the General Assembly to stop the anti-choice agenda of Governor Bob McDonnell and his allies. That’s part of the reason anti-choice politicians are working so hard to unseat Senator Northam.
As a practicing physician, Sen. Northam brings important experience and expertise to the committee, where he has often spoken to debunk anti-choice claims and provide perspective on the medical realities of reproductive choice and health issues. He has also been a leader on ensuring that Virginia’s young people receive the effective sex education they need to prevent pregnancy and protect their health. In the 2011 session, for instance, he patroned S.B. 967, a bill to ensure that Family Life Education programs in Virginia schools are medically-accurate and evidence-based. Sen. Northam has also spoken out on the issue of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” and the importance of making sure that these anti-choice organizations are not able to deceive Virginia women or provide them with medically-inaccurate information.
Senator Northam is being challenged by anti-choice candidate Ben Loyola, Jr. Not only will Mr. Loyola fully support the radical McDonnell-Cuccinelli agenda in Richmond (the governor not only endorsed, but promised to help campaign with Loyola), but he has shown his anti-choice positions in his own right. In fact, he sponsored a fundraiser for a deceptive anti-choice “crisis pregnancy center” that misinforms Tidewater women about abortion, birth control and reproductive health. To have an anti-choice candidate like Ben Loyola in the state Senate, particularly in place of a tireless public health advocate like Senator Northam, would be a detriment to women’s health in Virginia.
As we’ve noted before, Virginia’s state Senate is currently what we call “mixed-choice.” When votes on abortion and other reproductive rights issues come to the floor of the Senate, we do not have a reliable pro-choice majority. We saw the real consequences of this scenario earlier this year as anti-choice legislators snuck through S.B. 924, a bill singling out women’s health centers for new, politically-motivated regulations. As a champion of women’s health, Senator Northam voted against this law because he recognized these regulations for what they are – government intrusion into the private medical decisions of Virginia women that would actually put women’s health and rights in greater danger.
Senator Ralph Northam is strong pro-choice leader in Richmond who we can count on to keep working hard for women’s rights, privacy and health. Learn how you can get involved to get out the pro-choice vote by visiting our Elections page. Make sure to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 8 and remind all your pro-choice friends to do the same! Share this post and remind people of the importance of their vote for protecting the future of choice in Virginia!
By NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia PAC staff. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.