Friends, 

As a physician of more than two decades, an advocate for the Affordable Care Act, and leading Pennsylvania’s third-largest county for the last 7 years, I’ve seen first-hand an all-out assault on science and facts that’s only grown worse in recent years. I have and will always be ready to help battle back against these attacks because there is too much at stake.

These attacks on science mean we face an uphill battle in fighting climate change. It is unacceptable that we are losing Americans to extreme temperatures, or that parents have to worry about the air their kids breathe and the water they drink. And yet every day, we experience people in positions of power undermining our efforts to address this — folks who question the science behind climate change. These attacks mean we face an uphill battle in protecting our friends and neighbors from COVID-19 as some deny that vaccines work against COVID-19 or that the disease is even real. Some of the worst offenders are right here in Pennsylvania, where Republicans refuse to accept the fact that Joe Biden won the presidential election and are instead pushing the Big Lie.

As someone who spent countless hours on the labor and delivery floor, one of the clearest ways those who refuse to trust science and facts are hurting our communities is in the fight to protect abortion access. We are watching it happen across the country as politicians misrepresent medical facts, or ignore them all together, to push an anti-abortion agenda by punishing pregnant people who need or choose to have abortions and the physicians and medical personnel who help them. 

I have seen firsthand the challenges and stigma Pennsylvanians and Americans face in accessing abortion and reproductive health care. It’s just wrong. I also understand the consequences of taking away abortion access and the ability of pregnant people  to make these decisions with their doctor. It’s more urgent than ever that we not only codify Roe v. Wade, but also expand abortion access by making it available at no-cost to anyone who needs or wants it. We must also expand access to the full range of reproductive health care, including making contraception available over the counter at no-cost. 

This will take all of us standing up for abortion care and demanding action to protect it. It also means we need to elect more people to office, especially women, who will make this a priority. 

I’m committed to that work and I won’t back down from that fight until anyone who needs or wants an abortion can access it free from barriers and stigma. 

With determination, 

Val