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New Ad: Cuccinelli’s Extreme Efforts to Ban Birth Control

October 1, 2013

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s campaign for governor released a new ad today, “The Pill,” that focuses on legislation Cuccinelli sponsored that would have banned common forms of birth control, including the pill.

“Ken Cuccinelli has spent his entire career trying to interfere in Virginians’ private lives by attempting to restrict divorce, ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest, and sponsoring legislation that would outlaw common birth control like the pill,” said McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin. “Virginians can surely expect that as governor Cuccinelli would abuse his power and attempt to impose his personal extreme ideology on all Virginia families.”   

In his campaign for governor, Cuccinelli has lied about his record on more than one occasion, claiming he had not sought to ban birth control – despite his legislation that would do just that. The false claim earned him Three Pinnochios from a fact checker and a Washington Post editorial stating that “the facts suggest otherwise. 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.” 

Transcript: The Pill
Narrator: These are birth control pills. More than half of American women use them at some point in their lives. 
But Ken Cuccinelli sponsored a bill that could have made common forms of birth control illegal, including the pill. 
Cuccinelli was one of only five State Senators to support this potentially radical intrusion into domestic, family, and individual decision-making. 
Why is Ken Cuccinelli interfering in our private lives? 
He’s focused on his own agenda. Not us. 

Washington Post: Cuccinelli Received 3 Pinocchios For Claiming He Did Not Try To Make Contraception Illegal

In July 2013, during the VBA debate Cuccinelli was asked, “And on contraception, would you again seek to make several forms, common forms, of contraception illegal, as you did several years ago?”

Cuccinelli replied, “Well, I certainly didn’t do that several years ago. My focus in this race is on growing jobs for the middle class, and supporting them and not the well-connected. There are people, like me, who sincerely hold beliefs about protecting life, and I certainly bring those with me into the Governor’s race.” The Washington Post’s fact check gave Cuccinelli’s statement “Three Pinocchios.” [Washington Post, 7/23/13]

Washington Post: Banning Contraception “Likely Would Have Been the Practical Effect of the Bill He Cosponsored”

In July 2013, the Washington Post fact check stated, “We were told we would receive a response from the Cuccinelli campaign, but never got one. Cuccinelli’s answer was too cute by half, perhaps an effort to soften some of his conservatism. While he might not have specifically sought to ban contraception, that likely would have been the practical effect of the bill he co-sponsored.” [Washington Post, 7/23/13]

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]

Cuccinelli Cosponsored Personhood Bill in 2007 that Would Recognize Life from the “Moment of Fertilization”

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]

Editorial: Cuccinelli’s Personhood Bill Outside the Mainstream Even of Most Republicans because “Not Only Would the Amendment Have Banned Abortion, as the Sponsors Clearly Intended, It Also Provided an Opening to Prohibit Common Methods of BirthControl Including the Pill”

In September 2013, the Washington Post editorial board stated, “SIX YEARS ago, when Virginia’s General Assembly considered the so-called “personhood amendment” to the state constitution, which granted full rights to “preborn human being[s] from the moment of fertilization,” the list of co-sponsors was short. In the state Senate, five of 40 lawmakers, all Republicans, signed on. Among them were then-Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II and Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, the current GOP candidates for governor and attorney general, respectively. There’s a reason the amendment had relatively few sponsors, and there’s a reason it failed even in the Republican-dominated House of Delegates. Not only would the amendment have banned abortion, as the sponsors clearly intended, it also provided an opening to prohibit common methods of birth control, including the pill and intrauterine devices.” [Washington Post Editorial, 9/4/13]

Editorial: “To Most Virginia Legislators Including Many Republicans” Cuccinelli’s Bill “Was Too Far-Reaching, a Potentially Radical Intrusion into Domestic, Family and Individual Decision-Making”

In September 2013, the Washington Post editorial board stated, “To most Virginia legislators, including many Republicans, the 2007 “personhood” bill was too far-reaching, a potentially radical intrusion into domestic, family and individual decision-making. Although Republicans held 57 seats in the 100-member House, the bill got just 43 votes.” [Washington Post Editorial, 9/4/13]

Editorial: The “Practical Effects” of Cuccinelli’s Bill “Would Easily Include Banning the Most Popular forms of Contraception” including the Pill

In September 2013, the Washington Post editorial board stated, “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. This is because the pill, as well as other forms of birth control, work partly by preventing the implantation of eggs in the uterus wall after they have been fertilized. If the “preborn” are protected “from the moment of fertilization,” as the 2007 bill demanded, then contraception — which defeats a fertilized egg’s chances of becoming a living being — could be prohibited. In fact, the legislation seems to demand it.” [Washington Post Editorial, 9/4/13]

Politifact: Cuccinelli “Omits His Consistent Support of Bills that Would Have Opened or Protected Legal Avenues to Challenge the Use of Certain Contraceptives”

In September 2013, Politifact reported, “Cuccinelli’s wording also allows him to gloss over a vote he cast in 2003 against legislation that would have specified contraception does not constitute an abortion. So Cuccinelli’s claim has some accuracy, but omits his consistent support of bills that would have opened or protected legal avenues to challenge the use of certain contraceptives.” [Politifact, 9/16/13]

Politifact: “The Debate on Personhood’s Effect on Contraception Centers on How Various Forms of Birth Control Work”—FDA-Approved Contraception including Birth Control Pills and Emergency Contraception “Can Prevent the Implantation of an Egg”

In September 2013, Politifact reported, “The debate on personhood’s effect on contraception centers on how various forms of birth control work. No one disputes that condoms and other forms of birth control that merely prevent fertilization would unaffected by a measure to provide legal rights to preborn children. But various forms of FDA-approved contraception can also work to prevent the implantation of fertilized egg in the uterus. For example, although birth control pills mainly work to prevent fertilization by preventing the release of an egg, they can also make the lining of the uterus inhospitable to implantation after its fertilized, according to WebMD.Emergency contraceptives if taken soon after intercourse can prevent the release of an egg to prevent fertilization. But if taken later, they can prevent the implantation of an egg.” [Politifact,9/16/13]

UVA Constitutional Law Professor: Cuccinelli-Backed Personhood Bills in 2007 and 2012 May Not Have Survived a Legal Challenge because 1972 Supreme Court Decision Found Couples Have a Right to Access Contraception

In September 2013, Politifact reported, “Both the 2012 and the 2007 measures may not have survived legal challenge even if they had passed.  A.E. Dick Howard, a University of Virginia constitutional law professor, pointed out to us that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972 ruled that couples have a right of access to contraception.” [Politifact, 9/16/13]

Politifact: “Personhood laws could limit some forms of birth control” Politifact has previously written that “Personhood laws could limit some forms of birth control” and “Since it takes about eight or more days for a fertilized egg to implant in the wall of the uterus and there are birth control methods that prevent implantation, then such a law might well have made those methods illegal.” [Politifact, 11/2/12]

American Congress Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists: Personhood Laws Will “Deny Women Access To The Full Spectrum Of Preventive Health Care, Including Contraception”

In February 2012, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a statement that said: “The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is unequivocally opposed to the so-called ‘personhood’ laws or amendments being considered in several states. These measures erode women’s basic rights to privacy and bodily integrity; deny women access to the full spectrum of preventive health care including contraception; and undermine the doctor-patient relationship.” [American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2/10/12]

American Congress Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists: Personhood Measures “Would Limit Or Eliminate Contraceptive Options”

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, personhood measures “would limit or eliminate contraceptive options.” They elaborated: “Some of the most effective and reliable forms of contraception—oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and other forms of FDA-approved contraceptives—could be banned in states that adopt ‘personhood’ measures.” [American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Personhood Measures: Impact on Contraception”]  

Legislation That Defines A Fertilized Egg As A Human Being Would Ban All Abortions, Including Those Resulting From Rape And Incest, And Would Declare Common Forms Of Birth Control, Like The IUD, As Murder

According to New York Times, “A constitutional amendment facing voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8, and similar initiatives brewing in half a dozen other states including Florida and Ohio, would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder. […]The amendment in Mississippi would ban virtually all abortions, including those resulting from rape or incest. It would bar some birth control methods, including IUDs and ‘morning-after pills,’ which prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. It would also outlaw the destruction of embryos created in laboratories.” [New York Times, 10/25/11]