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Charleston, W.V. — Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic (PPVSAT), the separately incorporated political arm of the reproductive health non-profit, announced their first slate of endorsed candidates in the 2020 election. Topping that list are endorsements of Stephen Smith for West Virginia’s next Governor and Sam Petsonk for Attorney General. 

The stakes have never been higher in West Virginia. State legislators have stymied attempts to bring menstrual equity to the state, have continually blocked efforts to pass paid family and medical leave for West Virginians and have spent valuable time in session passing laws that are not based in science and fact intended to shame and intimidate those who need access to abortion care and the physicians who provide those needed services. 

The current global pandemic has illustrated the imperative of bold, meaningful leadership at all levels of government and it is clear that Stephen Smith is the next Governor West Virginia needs. Smith has long been an advocate of putting the health care needs of those most vulnerable in the state first. A strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act, his leadership in the midst of the current public health crisis has demonstrated his commitment to improving health outcomes for all West Virginians. The Coronavirus response page on Smith’s website was live and available to West Virginians before any state response, and he has converted his entire campaign infrastructure to checking in on residents across the state and helping connect them to what they need – be it food, masks or help applying for unemployment.  

“As Governor, Stephen Smith has pledged his support for common-sense measures in the midst of this public health crisis, including increasing access to affordable health care and paid family and medical leave,” said Alisa Clements, West Virginia Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic is proud to endorse Stephen Smith for Governor along with a strong slate of pro-reproductive health care candidates who are deeply committed to working toward a more equitable and just West Virginia.” 

In addition to Smith and Petsonk, PPVSAT also announced endorsements of five pro-reproductive health incumbents, WV Delegates Danielle Walker, Sammi Brown, Evan Hansen, Rodney Pyles, and Barbara Fleischauer. The full list of candidate endorsements can be found here

“We need strong champions for affordable health care now more than ever and that is exactly what every one of these endorsed candidates has pledged or proven to be,” said Clements. “The Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic endorsement carries a strong message for pro-reproductive health care voters that this is a candidate who can be counted on to keep politicians out of a woman’s personal pregnancy decisions and who will promote access to basic health care like birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings.” 


Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic (PPVSAT) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. Fortifying our commitment to protect women’s health, educate teens, and prevent unintended pregnancies, PPVSAT engages in educational and electoral activity, including public education campaigns, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.