OPINION: We cannot afford more of Cuccinelli's anti-woman policies

On Sep. 25, the Center for American Progress released a report about Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s record of supporting legislation that hurts Virginia women.

This includes (but is not limited to) support of bills that would limit Virginia women’s access to reproductive health care, sponsoring state funding of faith-based crisis pregnancy centers that are not required by law to provide medically accurate information and pushing for trivial regulations on women’s clinics that have already forced several in Virginia to close their doors.

Apart from hurting Virginia women as a whole, this legislation disproportionately harms college-aged women or women in their late teens and early 20s.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, these women are more likely than women of other age groups to use contraceptives (emergency and non-emergency), experience an unintended pregnancy and need access to abortion services.

During Cuccinelli’s term as a state senator of Virginia in 2007, he co-sponsored an amendment to the Virginia constitution stating “that life begins at the moment of fertilization,” more commonly known as the Personhood Amendment. Had Virginia’s congress passed this amendment, many common forms of contraception could have been outlawed.

For someone so against the termination of unwanted pregnancies, why would Ken Cuccinelli want to pass an amendment that would effectively outlaw measures preventing unwanted pregnancies?

It looks as if Cuccinelli’s agenda is more about controlling women’s bodies than it ever was about preventing abortions.

In addition, yearlong undercover investigation conducted by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia found that in early 2009, then state senator Ken Cuccinelli sponsored legislation directing funds from the sale of “Choose Life” Virginia license plates to faith-based crisis pregnancy centers.

Crisis pregnancy centers are centers that attempt to pass as comprehensive women’s health clinics but actually exist to talk women out of having abortions through false information and emotional manipulation.

The investigation also discovered that crisis pregnancy centers are sponsored by the Virginia Department of Health in a directory of no-cost ultrasound providers, available to women considering abortion who are required by law to have an ultrasound before they can have an abortion.

Under Ken Cuccinelli, state sponsoring of crisis pregnancy centers could only get worse. It’s completely within the rights of individuals to seek out crisis pregnancy center services or to donate their personal funds to crisis pregnancy centers, but I think we can all agree that state legislatures and the state department of health have an obligation to present unbiased, factually correct information regarding medical science. That is not currently the case in Virginia.

On top of all of this, the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider laws were implemented in Virginia under the McDonnell administration, which Cuccinelli currently serves under as attorney general. _ rough this legislation, arbitrary restrictions were placed solely on facilities that offer abortion services; restrictions that are unnecessary to increase the safety of those who utilize said facilities and have truly been implemented in hopes of shutting down women’s clinics.

So far, two clinics were forced to close their doors as a direct result of this legislation—one in the Hampton Roads area and another in Fairfax—and a clinic in Falls Church is in danger of becoming number three. If that wasn’t reprehensible enough, Cuccinelli personally bullied the Board of Directors of the Virginia Department of Health to impose such regulations even after they were deemed medically unnecessary. Again, I think we can all agree that partisan politics have no place in determining what is medically necessary and accurate. We should leave that up to doctors and health care professionals. This is simply yet another example of how Ken Cuccinelli has acted in his own interests with no care for the interests of the Virginia women he hopes to represent as governor.

Ken Cuccinelli poses a severe threat to Virginia women, especially college women, who tend to utilize the services he threatens more than most. His positions, which defy the opinions of health experts, are clearly based off of a partisan agenda instead of care for a large demographic he hopes to represent as governor. The only power we have to stop him is through the power of our vote at the ballot box this Nov. 5. It is crucial that we utilize that and put a stop to his harmful policies once and for all.

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