March 8, 2016 News & Press Releases · Press Releases and Announcements

Cuccinelli’s Record on Women’s Health Makes Him Unfit for the Bench

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Virginia Republicans are contemplating doing the unthinkable: nominating failed gubernatorial candidate and certified extremist Ken Cuccinelli to the Virginia Supreme Court to replace a qualified and nonpartisan female jurist.

As the closed and unaccountable process moves forward, Virginians deserve to know exactly who it is that Republicans believe should hold a 12-year term on their Supreme Court. Both Cuccinelli's record and his rhetoric are openly hostile to a woman's right to make her own health care decisions.

He is the most extreme and dangerous pick imaginable to serve on the Supreme Court and make decisions about the future of this Commonwealth.

Over the coming hours, DPVA will highlight different reasons why

Cuccinelli would be a damaging choice for Virginia's Supreme Court: first up, women's health.

Here is a sampling of the Cuccinelli record on women's health: 

Cuccinelli Pushed for Passage of 2012 Personhood Bill that Could Have Outlawed Abortion and Birth Control. 
" Washington Post Editorial Board wrote: "The practical effects of “personhood” measures, including the one in Virginia to which Mr. Cuccinelli affixed his name, would easily include banning the most popular forms of contraception." [Washington post, 9/4/2013]
Cuccinelli Warned of God's Judgement of America over Abortion. 

In September 2012, Cuccinelli said during a speech at Cherish Life Ministries’ Christian Life Summit: “Really, Given that God does judge nations, it’s amazing that abortion has run as far and fouly as it has, without what I would consider to be a greater imposition of judgment on this country. Who knows what the future holds.” [Christian Life Summit 2012, ~11:25, 9/30/12]


Claimed Abortion Was 97% of What Clinics like Planned Parenthood Do.In June 2011, Cuccinelli said on WMAL: “Well Live Action, Lila Rose’s group has really been doing a great job compiling information that demonstrates that these ads, especially in the Washington area that you hear, not necessarily on WMAL, but you hear them in this area, talking about all this health care that they provide. Well it turns out they don’t really. You know, 97% of what they do is abortion. And people obviously have strong and different feelings on the question of abortion but this isn’t a variety of health care options. It’s one option. It’s end pregnancy by abortion. And Indiana’s chosen another course.” [WMAL, ~9:57, 6/2/11]


Cuccinelli Supported Regulations Designed to Shut Down Women's Health Clinics. In an interview with Peter Shinn, president of Pro-Life Unity and director of Cherish Life Ministries, Cuccinelli said: “That involved regulations which we were involved with seeing through to their end point. And the governor recently signed them, they’ll go into effect January 1 of next year. And they’ll basically, as I had said earlier, require treating the women that go into those facilities, making a decision you and I don’t appreciate to say the least, but will make these facilities treat them with the respect they deserve.” [Interview with Peter Shinn, ~1:51, 5/7/12]


Cuccinelli Called Himself The “Most Aggressive Pro-Life Leader” In Virginia’s Senate. At the Republican Party of Virginia Convention in 2009 Cuccinelli said: “If you want a candidate who’s been the most aggressive pro-life leader in the Virginia senate in some time, then I need your vote.”  [Republican Party of Virginia Convention, ~4:54, 5/30/09]


Cuccinelli Called Bob Marshall The “Most Perseverant Pro-Lifer” in Virginia. In 2010, at the Divine Mercy Care Gala, Cuccinelli said, “In Virginia politics, the longest-lasting and most perseverant pro-lifer is here tonight. It’s Delegate Bob Marshall.” [Divine Mercy Care Gala 2010, ~4:55, 11/13/10]


Cuccinelli Wanted People to “Go to Jail” in Protest of the Contraception Mandate. In January 2013, on the Steve Deace show, Cuccinelli said wanted people to “embrace civil disobedience” in order to fight the contraception mandate. Cuccinelli said, “My local bishop said, ‘Well, you know I told a group I’m ready to go to jail.’ And I said, ‘Bishop, don’t take this personally: You need to go to jail.’”

Cuccinelli Opposes Abortion Even in Cases of Rape, Incest and Health of the Mother In October 2013, the Washington Post reported, “Cuccinelli opposes abortion in most cases, including rape and incest, but not when the life of the mother is at stake. In the Senate, he co-sponsored a "personhood" bill that would have granted constitutional protection to embryos from the moment of fertilization, which may have outlawed certain forms of contraception.” [Washington Post, 10/15/13]

Politifact: Cuccinelli Claim That He Didn’t Support Bills to Undermine Roe v. Wade is “False” In August 2013, Politifact reported, “Republican Ken Cuccinelli says if he’s elected governor, he won’t push for strategic bills that could be used to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v Wade decision that established abortion rights… Cuccinelli said all the bills he’s supported defining life as beginning at conception have contained language saying measures are intended to comply with Supreme Court rulings on abortion rights. Cuccinelli has backed two bills during his career; one had the qualifying clause he described and the other -- which Cuccinelli cosponsored -- did not. We rate his statement False.” [Politifact, 8/10/13]

Cuccinelli Warned of Divine Retribution for Abortion—“Given that God Does Judge Nations, It’s Amazing that Abortion Has Run as Far and Foully as It Has Without What I Would Consider to be a Greater Imposition of Judgment Upon This Country” In October 2013, NBC 12 reported, “Then later on in the speech, which also touched on gay marriage and other social issues, Cuccinelli gets very specific about his view of God's review of the United States as it relates to to its abortion policies. ‘Really, Given that God does judge nations, it's amazing that abortion has run as far and foully as it has, without what I would consider to be a greater imposition of judgment on this country,’ Cuccinelli said. ‘Who knows what the future holds?’” [NBC 12, 10/14/13Video]


Cuccinelli Doubled Down on Remark that God Will Punish Nation for Abortion—Compared Abortion to Slavery and the Punishment of the Civil War In October 2013, Cuccinelli was asked by Newsmax reporter Steve Malzberg, “One is about this tape that they’re making a big deal about, that you talked about, again, your strong right-to-life views, and about God and being surprised that God hasn’t punished America in some way for abortion. Is that one of those gotcha things that they’re exploiting or what?” He said, “Oh yeah. If you go back to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, he looked at the Civil War as sort of a national penance for slavery, the evil of slavery, letting it go on, and the founders knew how bad it was. And we have other things in this country today, and abortion is one of them. And it’s certainly one of those things that—I want to work us toward a culture of life, where everybody respects life and responds accordingly and where we value our children, and we take care of them as best we can.” [Newsmax Interview, 10/16/13, Video]


NBC 4: When Asked to Clarify His Statement that ‘God Would Judge America on the Issue of Abortion,’  “Cuccinelli Compared His View of Abortion to Abraham Lincoln’s View of Slavery” In October 2013, NBC 4’s Julie Carey reported, “Well Republican candidate for governor Ken Cuccinelli has never tried to hide the fact that he is an enormous opponent of abortion. But Democrats say his latest comments go too far. Democrats have hit Ken Cuccinelli harder on his pro-life viewpoint than any other issue. Earlier this week, they spotlighted a 2012 speech given to the Christian Life Summit in which Cuccinelli talked about how God would judge America on the issue of abortion…Today Democrats spotlighted brand new comments that came when an online TV show host asked Cuccinelli to explain what he had meant, and Cuccinelli compared his view of abortion to Abraham Lincoln’s view of slavery.” [NBC 4, 10/17/13,Video]


Cuccinelli AGAIN Warned God Would Punish the Country for Abortion In October 2013 on a campaign stop, Cuccinelli repeated his claim that God would punish the country for abortion. WCAV reported: REPORTER: When asked about it during his campaign stop, Cuccinelli didn’t back down from the statement. CUCCINELLI: Any time that we get on a wrong track as a country, there are consequences. And you can take that in any policy at all. [WCAV, 10/17/13, Video]


Cuccinelli Pushed for Passage of HB 1 Personhood Legislation, Said “The Fight For Life Is Going To Last For All Of Our Lives”In 2012, National Journal Hotline quoted Cuccinelli at rally for HB 1 personhood legislation, saying “It’s hard to believe we actually have to come and advocate for something as basic as life, but we’ve had to do it for decades and we’re going to have to do it for the rest of our lives. The fight for life is going to last for all of our lives.’“ [National Journal Hotline, 2/16/12; CBS 6 WTVR, 2/15/12, Video]

AP: Personhood Bill “Would Effectively Outlaw All Virginia Abortions” In February 2012, the AP reported: “Del. Bob Marshall's House Bill 1 would effectively outlaw all Virginia abortions by declaring that the rights of persons apply from the moment sperm and egg unite.” [AP, 2/14/12]


Cuccinelli Cosponsored Personhood Bill In 2007 In February 2007, Sen. Cuccinelli cosponsored legislation introduced by Del. Bob Marshall that would prove that “the right to enjoyment of life” guaranteed by Article 1, § 1 of the Constitution of Virginia applies to “preborn human beings from the moment of fertilization.”  The bill failed in the House. [HB 2797, 2/5/07]



Personhood Bill Could Have “Effectively Banned All Abortions in Virginia”In February 2007, the AP reported, “The measure would have given constitutional rights at fertilization. A bill that could have effectively banned all abortions in Virginia died on the House floor Monday. Del. Robert G. Marshall's bill would have granted constitutional protections at the moment of fertilization. The measure failed to advance on a 43-53 vote. Such bills rarely die in the conservative House, and are killed by the more moderate Senate.” [AP, 2/6/07]


AP: Abortion of “All Types Would Become Illegal”In February 2007, the AP reported, “By giving embryos the constitutional protection of personhood from the instant of fertilization, abortions of all types would become illegal.” [AP, 2/6/07]


Virginians For Life: Cuccinelli’s Bill Would “Dismantle The Tragic Roe V. Wade Decision” In February 2007, the Petersburg Progress-Index published a letter to the editor from Bob Kline, a member of Virginians for Life. The letter praised the Virginia Life at Conception Act, sponsored by Ken Cuccinelli, saying that it “would dismantle the Tragic Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the murder of innocent children on demand.” [Petersburg Progress-Index, letter to the editor, 2/6/07]


Cuccinelli Touted Himself as “Most Aggressive Pro-Life Leader” in the Senate In March 2010, the New York Times reported, “As a lawmaker from one of the state's most liberal regions, Mr. Cuccinelli proudly described himself as ‘the most aggressive pro-life leader in the Virginia Senate.’ He favored legislation granting legal rights to fetuses at conception and voted against a bill stating that contraception is not abortion. He also sponsored bills requiring regulations so strict they would have put most abortion clinics out of business.” [New York Times, 3/25/10]


Cuccinelli on TRAP Regulations: “The Ultimate Goal Which is to Make Abortion Disappear in America” In a May 2012 interview with Peter Shinn, president of Pro-Life Unity and director of Cherish Life Ministries, Cuccinelli said “You know, we want to show them the respect and love they need at a very difficult time all while keeping in mind the ultimate goal which is to make abortion disappear in America and make people want it that way.” [Interview with Peter Shinn, 5/7/12]


Cuccinelli “Threatened” Board Of Health That He Could Deny Them Legal Counsel If They Disregarded His Advice On Abortion Clinics In September 2012, the Virginian-Pilot reported: “Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has threatened Board of Health members that they could be denied state legal counsel and have to pay for their own defense if they again disregard his advice about relaxing controversial abortion clinic rules and litigation ensues. That warning is spelled out in a memo Wednesday from the Attorney General's Office - the lawyer for state agencies and boards - obtained by The Virginian-Pilot days before a board meeting to reconsider regulations for the licensure of clinics.” [Virginian-Pilot,9/13/12]


Editorial: “Cuccinelli Bullied the Commonwealth’s Board of Health” In October 2012, the Manassas News & Messenger wrote in an editorial, “But last month Cuccinelli bullied the commonwealth’s Board of Health to reverse its own decision allowing such grandfathering by threatening to withhold any legal support from his office, should individual board members ever face lawsuits over their actions. The enormous influence of the attorney general’s office has rarely ever been used so blatantly and egregiously to further the personal political agenda of a sitting AG - a foul distortion of state government made even stranger by the fact that Cuccinelli is also a self-proclaimed gubernatorial candidate.” [Manassas News & Messenger, 10/21/12]


Regulation Issue Had "Long Simmered in Virginia’s General Assembly" but "Took on New Life" after Cuccinelli's Opinion The Daily Press reported, "The issue has long simmered in Virginia's General Assembly but took on new life this year when Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued an opinion in August saying that the Virginia Board of Health has the power to bypass the Legislature and to immediately enact the new rules." [Daily Press, 2/25/11]


Cuccinelli Touted Personal Years-Long Effort to Pass the Legislation: “As a State Senator I Tried for Several Years to Pass This Legislation” He said, "As a state senator I tried for several years to pass this legislation. It is great to see that today, members from both sides of the aisle -- and the lieutenant governor -- realized the importance of this legislation and were able to score this victory for life and the dignity of women." [News and Advance, 2/25/11]

Cuccinelli Introduced Legislation Twice in the Senate In 2003 and 2004, Cuccinelli sponsored legislation that would define “’hospital,’ for the purposes of the Board of Health's regulatory requirements, to include "any clinic or other facility performing 25 or more abortions per year.” The legislation failed in the Senate Education and Health Committee both years. [2004: SB 146; 2003: SB 772]

Abortion Clinic In Norfolk Closed after Cuccinelli-Backed Regulations Given Final Approval In April 2013 the Virginian-Pilot reported, “Picketers couldn't do it. Neither could a bomber, an arsonist or an anti-abortion activist firing two dozen bullets into the building on East Little Creek Road. For four decades, Hillcrest Clinic - South Hampton Roads' first medical facility devoted to providing legal abortions - defied efforts to close its doors. That run ends Saturday. Virginia's new licensing standards for abortion clinics, coupled with a drop in demand for pregnancy terminations, have driven the clinic out of business.” [Hillcrest Clinic, accessed 7/8/13; Virginian-Pilot, 4/19/13]

At a rally at Liberty University Cuccinelli said, “This personhood bill recognizes a scientific reality. Life begins at conception. Make sure you talk to your senators. Advocate for this issue.”