Anti-choice Candidate Spotlight: Ken Cuccinelli

CuccinelliSince joining the Senate in 2002, Ken Cuccinelli has enjoyed one of the most illustrious careers in the Virginia General Assembly – when it comes to restricting reproductive rights, that is. As the Senator from Fairfax County, Cuccinelli has shown time and time again that he’s more interested in playing politics with women’s bodies – not with creating real solutions for women’s health – and now he’s campaigning for a chance to bring his anti-choice stance to the Attorney General’s office.

Virginia women have Ken to thank for a recent blow to reproductive rights: the new Choose Life license plates, whose revenues will be funneled directly into crisis pregnancy centers, providing women with deceptive and inaccurate information. While Cuccinelli jumped at the chance to distribute state funding to fake clinics, he patroned an amendment to the 2008 state budget to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides vital medical services to women in need. 90% of the organization’s work consists of preventive health care services like birth control and STI testing, often to low-income women[1] – services Cuccinelli would support if he were really interested in reducing the number of abortions. Instead, he showed his true radical colors by calling Planned Parenthood an “abortion-mill operator.” [2]

And that wasn’t the first time Cuccinelli refused commonsense, mainstream solutions. Back in 2007, Cuccinelli co-patroned HB 2797, which asserted that life begins at conception – and would have not only restricted access to abortion, but to certain forms of contraception as well. He’s voted repeatedly against bills protecting women’s access to contraception and ensuring that it’s not considered abortion. Further proving his disconnect from reality, Cuccinelli stubbornly supports discredited abstinence-only education: he refused to vote for a bill that would have included information on contraception in the Virginia sex-ed curriculum. Instead, he championed one that added an emphasis on the benefits of marriage.

Cuccinelli’s assaults on choice go on and on: he has patroned bills establishing unnecessary regulations for abortion clinics, patroned Virginia’s parental consent law, and provided the final vote to retain the Partial Birth Abortion Plan. He’s also voted to require doctors to distribute inaccurate and biased information to women seeking abortions, and to require medically unnecessary ultrasounds. While Cuccinelli brags about this as an effort to “ensure women are fully informed about alternatives to abortion,” it actually shows that he thoroughly distrusts women’s ability to make decisions about their own health care.

Cuccinelli’s stance on choice is as counterproductive as it is staunch. He has refused middle-ground solutions time and time again in favor of adding to his own pro-life credentials – and that’s not what Virginia women need. NARAL is proud to endorse Steve Shannon, who has earned a 100% pro-choice rating and worked tirelessly for reproductive rights. Virginians deserve an Attorney General who will stand up for women’s right to choose – not one who will stubbornly deny it.

[1] “Affordable Birth Control and Other Preventive Health Care,”; available here:

[2]  “Senate’s Vote Sets Tone on Abortion,” Washington Post, 27 February 2008; available here:


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