An affiliate group associated with Planned Parenthood has now formally endorsed the candidacy of Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for the office of governor of Virginia. The presumed Republican nominee, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, has already been endorsed by the pro-life group the Susan B. Anthony List.
Both groups have already begun spending on the gubernatorial contest. Planned Parenthood has commercials on the internet. The SBA List has begun a radio campaign.
The access to abortion will likely be a big issue in the race.
Virginia's Republican-dominated state legislature (with the support of Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli), is now requiring that medical clinics in Virginia where abortions are performed have hospital-sized corridors.
"The net effect is that women will not have access to health care in Virginia," declared Laura Meyers, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, which endorsed Calif. "And I think it's very important that women know that. And that women know that Terry McAuliffe will stand up for them and stand up for women's health."
The Democratic nominee paints his Republican opponent is an anti-abortion extremist.
"He's had a career of trying to roll back women's rights," said McAuliffe during an interview. "As you know, the issue of 'personhood,' which would prevent women from getting most forms of contraception -- even the pill. [Cuccinelli] has said publicly that his goal is to make abortions disappear in America. That's his quote, not mine."
Attorney General Cuccinelli was not available for an interview, but supporters, like the pro-life group the Susan B. Anthony List, applaud the new clinic regulations, and they applaud Cuccinelli for supporting the new standards.
"Ken Cuccinelli is a consistent pro-life leader who has been working tirelessly in the Commonwealth of Virginia to protect women with the increased health and safety standards for abortion clinics," explained Mallory Quigley, a spokeswoman for the Susan B. Anthony List.
The national president of Planned Parenthood believes Cuccinelli's views harm women in ways beyond the abortion issue. Cecile Richards told us: "Ken Cuccinelli has stated that he really wants to take away a right that women have, which is to get birth control covered in their insurance plans. It's a health care issue. It's an economic issue for women in Virginia."
McAuliffe already has the nomination of the Democratic Party. Republicans will formally choose their nominee at a party convention in Richmond on Saturday.