In a major endorsement from one of the nation’s leading abortion rights groups, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) was endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America and its Virginia branch on March 13.
“I am honored to receive NARAL’s endorsement,” Northam said in a statement. “Now more than ever, it’s imperative Virginia remains a brick wall to attacks on reproductive rights and access to healthcare – I’ve never wavered on these issues and I never will.
“As governor, I’ll continue to be a steadfast partner in NARAL’s mission to defend women’s ability to make their own economic and reproductive decisions.”
The endorsement comes as Northam is facing a closer-than-expected Democratic primary contest against former Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello. While in Congress, Perriello supported the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the Affordable Care Act which restricted public funding for abortions. Perriello said he is pro-choice and supported the amendment because of campaign promises to constituents of his traditionally conservative district. He has since apologized for voting for the amendment in interviews and on social media.
A former physician, Northam was lauded by NARAL as “a steadfast champion for reproductive rights.”
“With Donald Trump in the White House and the Virginia House and Senate controlled by anti-choice legislators, we are facing unprecedented attacks on a woman’s health and rights,” said executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Tarina Keene. “That’s why we need Ralph Northam as our governor. He is unwavering in his commitment to protect and advance reproductive rights and has and will never shy away from a tough fight. We know he has our back.”
Speaking at the endorsement event in Falls Church, Keene said NARAL doesn’t typically endorse candidates during primaries, but “this year, the choice was crystal clear when it comes to the next governor of Virginia.”
“He is a fighter and he trusts women,” Keene said.