Northam releases women’s health, equality, opportunity platform

ralph northamAlongside NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and Planned Parenthood Advocates Virginia, Dr. Ralph Northam unveiled his policy plan outlining his goals for women’s health, equality and economic opportunity in Virginia.

Women make up more than 50 percent of the population, own more than 36 percent of privately-held businesses that generate over $38 billion a year in revenue. If Virginia is truly committed to equality and economic growth, our next governor must help ensure a level playing field for men and women.

Northam is committed to making this a reality in Virginia because what’s good for women in Virginia is good for our entire commonwealth. Northam has fought for women’s rights throughout his career and believes strongly that reproductive freedom equates to economic freedom, which is why he is committed to maintaining access to reproductive health care and keeping politicians out of women’s health care decisions.

“As I’ve said many times, reproductive freedom equates to economic freedom,” said Northam. “That’s why I’m committed to maintaining access to reproductive health care and keeping politicians out of women’s health care decisions. But this plan goes beyond health care — this is about creating economic opportunity and equality for all Virginia women. Ensuring that women are paid the same as men is a moral and economic imperative for our economy. I know that when women do better, we all do better, and what’s good for women in our commonwealth is good for our entire commonwealth.”


Reproductive Health

Expand access to contraception

  • Support increasing access to a full range of contraception including LARCs for Virginians of all ages and income levels.
  • Veto bills that characterize FDA-approved contraception as abortion and veto bills that would impose restrictions on FDA-approved contraception.
  • Veto attempts to limit access to or increase costs for birth control.
  • Support legislation that solidifies no co-pay birth control

Get politicians out of personal medical decisions

  • Veto bills from the General Assembly that would undermine women’s access to reproductive healthcare.
  • Support the repeal of medically unnecessary laws like TRAP laws solely designed to restrict women’s access to reproductive healthcare.
  • Support the repeal of medically unnecessary law mandating women to receive an ultrasound before getting an abortion.
  • Support passing laws to protect doctors from harassment, intimidation and violence.
  • Support passing laws to protect women from being discriminated against for reproductive health decisions they make in consultation with their provider.
  • Support an amendment to the state Constitution codifying Roe v. Wade.
  • Support the repeal of the ban on purchasing health insurance plans that cover abortion on Virginia’s healthcare exchange.
  • Veto bills from the General Assembly that defund Planned Parenthood.

Give all young people access to quality family life education

  • Support policies that fully fund quality family life education and ensure all young Virginians have access to family life education that is evidence-based and medically accurate, taught by trained teachers, and inclusive of LGBTQ youth.
  • Support school-based health centers providing counseling and referrals for birth control.
  • Support policies that encourage and teach children to develop healthy relationships.
  • Support promoting awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault prevention.


Equal Pay

  • Make salary information more transparent, so women can fight discriminatory pay practices when they occur, rather than after the fact.


Paid Family And Sick Leave

  • Provide businesses incentives to offer paid family leave to their employees.
  • Support legislation to offer tax credits to make it affordable for small businesses to allow full-time employees to take at least eight workweeks of paid family or sick leave.


Early Childhood Education and Childcare

  • Make early childhood education for every Virginia public school student a top educational priority— opening up and improving classrooms for children.


Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

  • Work with stakeholders, public and private, to protect survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, prosecute the perpetrators, and support the medical professionals and law enforcement officials on the front lines.
  • Continue Governor McAuliffe’s Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Assault, and work side-by-side with Attorney General Herring to ensure Virginia has the resources needed to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • Increase employment protections codifying the right of survivors of domestic or sexual violence to take time off from work without losing a job.
  • Expand education about this important issue, especially for young Virginians.
  • Increase the number of trained forensic nurses across Virginia
  • Ensure Virginia’s statewide protocols for hospitals and law enforcement include trauma-informed approaches when assisting survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.
  • Support better protections for non-offending parents in cases of domestic abuse committed in front of a child
  • Pass legislation similar to the federal Violence Against Women Act in Virginia

Learn more about the Northam women’s health, equality & opportunity policy plan here.


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