Richmond, Va. – Today, Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker, State Senator Barbara Favola, and Planned Parenthood volunteer Sarah Smith denounced Ed Gillespie’s new position to defund Planned Parenthood in Virginia and his decision to campaign with Mike Pence—a noted opponent of women’s health freedom. On a press call, Swecker, Sen. Favola and Smith—who asked Gillespie about Planned Parenthood on Monday night—discussed the terrible impact the Republican nominee’s anti-woman, anti-choice policy agenda will have on Virginia.
“If Ed Gillespie and Mike Pence were any farther to the right on women’s issues they’d be 50 miles east of Virginia Beach,” said DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker. “Mike Pence is an extremist whose entire political career has been dedicated to taking away women’s health freedom. Pence’s tenure as Indiana governor is a chilling preview of what would happen if Ed Gillespie wins in November. Like the Vice President, Ed also supports banning abortion and decimating funding for women’s health programs.”
“This is a case in point why it’s so important to have our Democratic nominee Ralph Northam win this governor’s race. We need somebody who really is going to care about the health of Virginians,” said state senator Barbara Favola. “We need somebody who won’t play political football with women’s health. And we need somebody who understands and appreciates firsthand the importance of giving a woman the privacy and constitutional space she has been granted by the Supreme Court to make her own health care decisions.”
“[Mr. Gillespie] said he would absolutely sign a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood. I probably shouldn’t have been at all surprised, but I was disappointed because I know how important Planned Parenthood is to women in the state,” said Sarah Smith, the Planned Parenthood volunteer who asked Gillespie about whether he would defund Planned Parenthood. “Taking that away would be devastating to women in the commonwealth, and it honestly feels like an attack on women’s health care. After hearing those comments on Wednesday night I was just reminded what’s at stake this November.”
At a “Women for Ed” event on Wednesday in Glen Allen, Ed Gillespie said for the first time that, if elected governor, he would sign a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Just a day later, Gillespie announced that he will appear with Vice President Mike Pence — one of the leading opponents of women’s rights in the country. Pence spearheaded and signed Indiana’s unconstitutional 2016 abortion law, which contained some of the mostoutrageous restrictions in the country. The joint appearance underscores how Gillespie is rapidly moving to the right on women’s health issues.