Ken Cuccinelli pretends to support basic reproductive health care

But don't worry, he is only pretending!

By Katie McDonough
Published August 29, 2013 2:00PM (EDT)

During a recent campaign stop, Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli pretended for approximately five minutes to support women's access to basic reproductive health care, something that he actually does not support at all. (At all!)

While stumping at a retirement community in Ashburn, a woman asked Cuccinelli if he would “support and sign personhood legislation that contains restrictions on birth control medication and birth control devices.”

To which Cuccinelli said, “I don’t think government should be doing anything about birth control. So, no, I would not. Government legislation shouldn’t address contraception.”

(That was the pretending part! Did you catch it?)

In 2007, then-state senator Cuccinelli co-sponsored a personhood measure to amend the state Constitution to declare that “life begins at the moment of fertilization,” a provision the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other reproductive health advocates warned would deny women access to "the full spectrum of preventive health care including contraception,” particularly emergency contraception and IUDs.

“So the rumors that you would support birth-control restrictions are false?” the woman inquired as a follow up.

“Actually,” Cuccinelli said, “I wouldn’t call them rumors, I might call them lies. Yeah, let’s be accurate about this.”

And scene!

Even if you're inclined to believe that Cuccinelli honestly does not think the personhood amendment he co-sponsored would have created a barrier to women's access to contraception, lots of other things he supports would.

For example, Cuccinelli is a major backer of Virginia's TRAP laws, which have already forced two reproductive health clinics to close. These clinics, in addition to providing abortion services, provide low- and no-cost contraception. You know, the thing that Cuccinelli "won't regulate" as governor.

He also happens to be a big supporter of crisis pregnancy centers, counseling centers that often look like comprehensive health clinics but tell women medically inaccurate things like, "condoms are naturally porous." Many also won't write you a prescription for birth control.

Cuccinelli also doesn't believe that contraception should be covered by a woman's insurance.

So while he says he "won't regulate" contraception, he more accurately means he won't make it available and won't pay for it.

Both of these things are bad for women. Incidentally, so is Cuccinelli.

h/t Washington Post

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

MORE FROM Katie McDonoughFOLLOW kmcdonovgh

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abortion Ken Cuccinelli Reproductive Rights