Center for American Progress Action

RELEASE: Cuccinelli and His Caucus Are Bad for Women’s Health in Virginia
Press Release

RELEASE: Cuccinelli and His Caucus Are Bad for Women’s Health in Virginia

Washington, D.C. – A new report released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund examines Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s extensive record working to roll back women’s reproductive rights and make it harder for women in Virginia to access health care.

“The findings of this report leave no doubt that Cuccinelli’s policy vision would have grave impacts on women in Virginia,” said CAP Action Senior Fellow Buffy Wicks. “Women in Virginia want a fair shot to help their families get ahead. But Cuccinelli and his caucus seek to undermine the progress that’s been made to help women access affordable health care and make the best choices for their families.”

The report details how Cuccinelli’s extreme anti-choice positions and zealous opposition to the Affordable Care Act would harm women in Virginia. And as the report describes, Cuccinelli is not alone in his views. Mark Obenshain, Republican candidate for Virginia attorney general; E.W. Jackson, Republican candidate for Virginia lieutenant governor; and many Republican members of the House of Delegates share his policy positions. Together, these officials threaten the freedom and opportunity of Virginia women.

According to the analysis, the potential impacts of Cuccinelli’s anti-choice philosophy and policy stances include:

  • Outlawing abortion, even in cases of rape. In 2007, Cuccinelli was among the only 5 out of the 40 Republican senators in Virginia that signed onto a constitutional amendment stating that life beings at conception. The impact of a personhood amendment, however, is to outlaw abortion. If fertilized eggs are given human rights, then a woman who finds out she is pregnant and wants to choose whether she carries it to term is already too late to make that decision.
  • Banning common forms of contraception. Cuccinelli has stated that he would vote “against a bill stating that contraception is not abortion.”
  • Approving forced transvaginal ultrasounds. As attorney general, Cuccinelli joined with conservative state legislators in support of H.B. 462, which would have forced all women seeking an abortion to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound. These procedures are invasive, medically unnecessary, and expensive: They cost between $200 and $1,200.

In addition to supporting legislation that could lead to a complete ban on abortion and contraception, Cuccinelli has worked to undermine the Affordable Care Act, which is crucial to improving women’s health in Virginia. According to the report, if Cuccinelli and his caucus have their way, insurance companies could charge women more than men, and 1,376,205 women would lose their preventive care. Similarly, Cuccinelli’s opposition to expanding Medicaid under the ACA means that if he becomes governor, 169,000 Virginia women who are among the most unlikely to be able to afford insurance on their own would be denied health care coverage.

A separate analysis, released today by the Center for American Progress, explains just how much is at stake for women in Virginia by comparing the challenges women face in Virginia to those confronted by women across the country. According to “The State of Women in America,” which measures how women across the country are faring based on a set of 36 health, economic, and leadership indicators, women in Virginia lag behind many other states in the nation in the ability to live healthy and economically secure lives. The state has already implemented some of the harshest restrictions on access to reproductive health care for women in the nation. It is in this context that makes Cuccinelli’s vision for Virginia women even more harmful.

Read the report here.

Listen to today’s press call here.

Related resources:

To speak with CAP Action experts on this issue, please contact Madeline Meth at [email protected] or 202.741.6277.