With just weeks left before the Virginia governor’s race and Republican Ken Cuccinelli trailing in the polls, the state Attorney General is desperate to gain some ground, especially among women. The latest polls continue to show him trailing behind Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe. In hopes of turning that around, Cucinelli spent a moment in Wednesday night’s debate trying to appeal directly to women voters.
“No one up here has done more to protect women than I have,” claimed Cuccinelli.
Protecting women? Not so much. Here are the top five ways Cuccinelli could have done far more to “protect” women in Virginia.
1) Stop trying to ban birth control: Cuccinelli has repeatedly stated that he isn’t trying to ban contraception, but has authored bills that protect “life at the moment of conception.” When asked directly, these “personhood” bill supporters always claim that they have no intention of coming for birth control, too, but when questioned more closely, they admit that in their world, birth control is never anything that involves hormones. Instead, any form of hormonal contraception is an “abortifacient” and would be banned as an end result of legislation.
Don’t believe me? Ask anti-choice advocate Lila Rose, who chastises the Washington Post’s reporting on Cuccinelli’s desire to ban birth control as wrong only in the fact that the paper does not admit that hormonal birth control is really causing mini-abortions. “Washington Post, have integrity and report the facts. If a drug or device is designed to also kill children, it is not just contraception, it is also an abortifacient.”
2) Stop trying to close the state‘s abortion providers: Two clinics in the state have already shuttered, knowing they have no way to comply with the new Board of Health rules that require them to rebuild as ambulatory surgical centers. Those new rules were pushed by the A.G., who refused to allow the earlier board of health to grandfather in already existing clinics and leave them exempt from the new legislation. What happens when people don’t have the ability to access abortion, especially in a timely manner? Some will go to dangerous lengths to try to induce an abortion. It won’t just hurt those who attempt to self abort, but also those who miscarry and are accused of self-abortion. In a state with low abortion access, every pregnant person is assumed guilty unless she can prove otherwise.
3) Support the Violence Against Women Act: Once upon a time, reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act was a given. It was only since the Tea Party takeover in the House that suddenly the idea of protections for women became controversial. As Congress fought over passage of VAWA, 47 attorneys general across the country signed a letter urging them to stop playing politics and reauthorize the bill. One of just three A.G.s refusing to support VAWA? Cuccinell.
Which of course leads us to….
4) Stop supporting men‘s rights activists: Is child support a “subsidy on divorce”? Does the practice “enable and even [encourage] mothers to simply walk away, take the children with them and basically plunder the father for everything he has”? So claims Stephen Baskerville, the former president of a fathers’ rights group called the American Coalition of Fathers and Children. Baskerville praised Cuccinelli’s legislative bills because they “help” fathers in custody and divorce cases, as reported by Huffington Post. “Cuccinelli offered two bills as a state senator in line with the movement’s objectives: one that would have prevented a parent from obtaining a no-fault divorce if the other parent objects, and another that would have encouraged judges to penalize a woman who asked for a no-fault divorce in custody and visitation battles.” Fathers’ rights groups have also campaigned for Cuccinelli, according to Huffpo, apparently seeing a kindred spirit in the candidate.
5) Give women equal pay protection: On the campaign trail, McAuliffe introduced a proposal to ensure that women received equal pay protections in the workplace. The proposal would increase penalties for companies found to be paying employees differently based on their gender, despite doing the same work. When asked for his stance on the issue, Cuccinelli refused to answer.
Virginia women currently earn just 79 cents to every dollar that a Virginia man earns.
In other words, thanks for the “protection,” A.G. Cuccinelli, but I guess we’d be doing a lot better without your “help.”
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore