Press Release

PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND

PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIRGINIA PAC

McAuliffe Election a Resounding Victory for Women in Virginia and Beyond

“The lesson for candidates in 2014 is unmistakable: Dismiss and demean women at your peril,” said Cecile Richards

WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC celebrated Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe’s victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election this evening. McAuliffe’s victory over Ken Cuccinelli was driven by women voters in Virginia, after a campaign that centered in large part on the two candidates’ starkly differing view on women’s health.

“This is a resounding victory for women in Virginia and all across the country. Women’s health was the defining issue in this race, and women decided this election. This election was a strong rejection of the Tea Party efforts to insert the government into women’s health. The vast majority of voters in this country want women to make their own personal medical decisions without interference from politicians,” said Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

“Tonight, Virginia has told politicians in all 50 states that you can’t win elections by opposing women’s health and rights. Ken Cuccinelli’s opposition to affordable birth control, funding for Planned Parenthood’s preventive services, and access to safe and legal abortion cost him the election.  The lesson for candidates in 2014 is unmistakable: Dismiss and demean women at your peril,” said Richards.

On the heels of our most successful and effective electoral campaign in 2012, Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations made the Virginia governor’s race its top priority, investing $2.4 million and carefully targeting 200,000 key voters. The more voters learned about the candidates’ positions on women’s health – from a messenger they trust uniquely – the more likely they were to vote for Terry McAuliffe and against Ken Cuccinelli.

“This is a huge win for Virginia women. Terry McAuliffe will fight for women’s health and rights as our next governor. He will work to protect Virginia women’s access to birth control, preventive health care, and safe and legal abortion, and pledged to stand like a ‘brick wall’ when our rights come under attack. ” said Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director, Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC.

“The stark contrast between these two candidates on issues important to women turned this race from an uphill battle for Terry McAuliffe into a landslide victory. It is clear that Virginians have had enough of extreme politicians who want to restrict access to quality and affordable health care. Virginia women stood with Terry McAuliffe by historic margins this election because Terry McAuliffe stood with us.

“We were proud to support Terry this election, and we know that he will stand up for Virginia women and families as our Governor,” said Stewart-Reid.

BACKGROUND ON KEEP KEN OUT CAMPAIGN:

In February, Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Planned Parenthood Votes launched “Keep Ken Out” — a $2.4 million dollar multi-layered campaign to make sure Virginia voters knew the truth about Ken Cuccinelli’s extreme record and agenda on women’s health when they went to the polls.

Cuccinelli holds some of the most extreme views on women’s health by any major party candidate in years and polling shows that these views cost him significantly with women (and a broad cross-section of voters).

Polling from the 2012 election shows that access to safe and legal abortion, affordable birth control, and basic health care access are motivating voting issues for women, who view them as core economic issues for their families.  An overwhelming majority of women voters trust Planned Parenthood political and advocacy organizations when they speak out about issues affecting the health of women. Additionally, a 2012 post-election report from the Sunlight Foundation on big winners and losers found that the Action Fund had a 98 percent return on investment — having supported 12 winning candidates and opposing 12 losing candidates.

Similar to our successful campaigns in 2012, the women we reached in Virginia know that affordable and accessible health care and birth control are economic issues, and believe that politicians like Ken Cuccinelli are overreaching when it comes limiting access to safe and legal abortion. We’ve knocked more than 90,000 doors, made 26,000 phone calls, and sent mail to over 155,000 households.

On October 2, Planned Parenthood Votes announced a million dollar TV and radio ad buy in the Richmond and Norfolk media markets. You can watch the first TV ad “Own Decisions” here and the second TV ad “Wrong” (announced October 22) here. You can listen to the radio ad here.

Additionally, on October 29, Planned Parenthood Votes announced a $100,000 radio ad buy warning that Virginia attorney general candidate Mark Obenshain shares the same dangerous positions on women’s health as gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. You can listen to the ad here.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards campaigned for McAuliffe in October, kicking off canvasses in Alexandria, Charlottesville and Richmond. You can read more about her visit here.

You can view the campaign website here: www.KeepKenOut.org

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.

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