Guest Post: “I don’t feel safer with the idea of Cuccinelli as governor.”

This is a guest blog post by Nena Huss, a student at Christopher Newport University and a campus representative for NARAL Pro-Choice America. 

As a guest blogger I suppose I should introduce myself: my name is Nena Huss, age twenty, and a campus representative for NARAL Pro-Choice America at Christopher Newport University. On our campus this year we have hosted each of the gubernatorial candidates for Virginia, an impending election causing quite a stir within our state. I was unable to attend when McAuliffe, the democratic candidate, or Robert Sarvis, the libertarian candidate, came to speak but when Ken Cuccinelli came to speak I made sure I could go. However, one of the interesting aspects of his speech is how little notice students were given. I received the email informing me of Cuccinelli’s speech about six hours before he arrived. I went back through my emails to see if it had been announced before but no luck, they said he was going to come but all my other emails that mentioned it stated that the date had yet to be set. I began to look online to see if any other articles or sources mentioned the date and time and I found only one, a small Hampton Roads site that mentioned the correct date and time at the end of an article; other forums and the school newspaper did the same but had an incorrect date. It is entirely possible that they simply just did not know, but CNU’s past history with controversial speakers makes me wonder. Last year Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan spoke at CNU and the school faced an issue of students protesting his appearance. Students were told that they could not protest because they did not give notice ten business days before the event despite the fact that it was only announced a day or two before. CNU faced a great deal of backlash for this so, in my opinion, they gave even less notice for Cuccinelli so as not to face potential protestors.

cnu picture

The forum was held in the Gaines Theatre on campus in the torrential rain and given the late notice, there were not as many people as I expected. After politely accepting a flier about a candidate I was not even eligible to vote for, I took my seat. Cuccinelli took the stage and introduced himself and gave some background information. This was not my first time seeing him speak; he gave a speech at Virginia Girl’s State, a summer leadership and citizenship program sponsored by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary, when I attended and faced a surprisingly hostile audience of seventeen year old girls.

While listening to him in Gaines Theatre I realized he, or someone on his team, must have done their research. He made a point to mention his history with survivors of sexual assault, his work with mental illness, and a couple other issues that CNU has strong groups specifically for. After his introduction, the two moderators began to ask questions of the candidate. The theme of the night for Cuccinelli appeared to be “let’s be moderate,”as he did not touch on any controversial issues. Instead he brought up his past legislation on issues that no one in the area would disagree with. He talked about the transportation bill, something important on the Peninsula. He was asked about college affordability and talked about the possibilities of digital learning. All very civil, all very typical.

ken cuccinelli picture

It wasn’t until reproductive rights were brought up that his attitude changed. The female moderator began a question about reproductive rights and he cut her off before she finished her question saying, “You mean abortion.” She agreed to that and then I saw him basically dodge the question entirely. Instead of addressing his opinions on the issue, he maneuvered back to talking about “hot lanes” and how when he runs on an issue, he gets it. I was confused at that point: what did that have to do with reproductive rights? The moderator must have shared my confusion because she asked him again, this time specifically about what he would try and pass in regards to that issue were he elected. To this he seemed to say that he would do nothing and that he’s never supported legislation in regards to that. His wording was careful enough that I figured he was trying not to talk about his opinions on the matter and instead trying to be moderate. When the moderator brought up his support of the “Personhood bill” and the use of a transvaginal ultrasound for women seeking an abortion, he more or less brushed it off. He gave the vaguest possible answer so as not to seem extreme. All in all the speech was a normal political speech, meant not to offend anyone but Cuccinelli’s careful avoidance of reproductive rights gave me no reason to feel any safer with the idea of him as governor.

Cuccinelli gave big money to CPCs that lie to women

Unbelievable: An investigative report by Mother Jones just revealed that anti-choice gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has donated thousands of dollars to Virginia crisis pregnancy centers that lie to women.

While not entirely surprising coming from the man who has been one of the most anti-choice gubernatorial candidates Virginia has ever seen, this is still shocking. What’s worse, one of the CPCs Cuccinelli has supported is AAA Women for Choice, perhaps the most egregious CPCs in Virginia and a center that NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has heavily investigated over the past year.

In fact, we sent an undercover investigator into AAA Women for Choice this past summer – and what we found was shocking. Among other outrageous lies, the CPC staffer told Caitlin, our investigator, that condoms have holes, that birth control causes cancer, and that contraception is “enslavement”. Here are the highlights of her visit:

These lies are not unique to AAA Women for Choice. Our year-long investigation of 56  CPCs across the Commonwealth found that 71% lie to the women that walk through their doors, including spreading misinformation about birth control, sex, and abortion.  A full 18 centers told our investigators that abortion is linked to breast cancer, and 25 centers falsely reported a link  between abortion, infertility and pre-term birth.

It is outrageous that Ken Cuccinelli (who is now trying to pose as a “protector of women“) would support centers that blatantly attempt to deceive and manipulate Virginia women. Even scarier — does he actually believe these lies?

The women of Virginia deserve better than a governor who funds anti-choice organizations that deceive and mislead women. With election day  just two weeks away, we need your help to defeat Ken Cuccinelli at the polls!  Volunteer with us to ensure that we get out the pro-choice vote on November 5th!

Cuccinelli continues to lie about views on women’s health

By: Marieke van Rijn, Advocacy and Communications Intern


This morning in an interview with Fox & Friends, Ken Cuccinelli said something we may actually agree with: women do not like it when the government comes between them and their doctor when making a medical decision. He’s right! Women truly don’t appreciate having the privacy guaranteed in a doctor-patient relationship violated.

Of course now you may be thinking how could Cuccinelli, a man with a lengthy anti-choice voting record, say this. Has he finally begun to respect women’s bodily autonomy and right to choose? The answer to that, unfortunately, is no. Cuccinelli is just employing the popular tactic used in the far-right to try to scare women into opting out of the Affordable Care Act.

It is appalling that Cuccinelli – who proposed the “personhood” bill which would make obtaining contraceptives and a safe and legal abortion impossible for women – is now try to gain more women voters by using misinformation to scare them out of access to a healthcare plan that they would greatly benefit from.

Cuccinelli claims that women should be scared of the Affordable Care Act and McAuliffe is creating a “false narrative” of his voting record regarding contraceptives and women’s issues. We know this isn’t true. The only “false narrative” being created here is Cuccinelli downplaying his anti-choice voting record, and what women should really be afraid of is further denigration of their rights if Cuccinelli is elected governor.

If you want to help protect women’s choice in Virginia, sign up to volunteer with us!

Rally to Support Falls Church Healthcare Center Against TRAP

We had a great time today at the rally in Arlington to support the Falls Church Healthcare Center (FCHC) in the first stages of its lawsuit protesting targeted regulations against abortion providers pushed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Here’s the link to our Storify story compiling pictures, videos, and social media about the rally. Join us next time and check out our events page for more opportunities to support choice!

Young activists at the rally!

Young activists at the rally!


Ken Cuccinelli’s new desperate turn

This morning the Washington Post  published an interview with Ken Cuccinelli in which he claims Terry McAuliffe is “flat-out lying” about his record on women’s health. Yep…seriously.

cooch interview pic

Ken Cuccinelli is interviewed for the Washington Post’s TV “In Play”

Good thing our executive director Tarina Keene was ready with this AWESOME response:

“For months now, Ken Cuccinelli has been running away from his extreme record of attacking women’s health and rights – but this is a new low, even for him. Despite his desperate claims, Ken Cuccinelli did sponsor ‘personhood’ legislation that could outlaw common forms of birth control, and he even advocated “going to jail” to protest no-cost birth control under the Affordable Care Act. These are the facts, plain and simple. What we’re seeing now is a desperate candidate who finally understands that you can’t govern, and you certainly can’t win elections, by attacking the women and families of the Commonwealth. Virginians just aren’t buying it.”

It’s pretty obvious that Ken Cuccinelli is seeing the writing on the wall – and is furiously trying to whitewash his extreme anti-choice record. With less than 5 weeks to the election, it is critical that we hold him accountable for his extreme attacks on women’s health and rights. Sign up now to volunteer with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia & help pro-choice Terry McAuliffe win on November 5th!


By: Katharine Donohoe, Development and Events Intern 

Are you ready to #StopKen? Tonight is the Governor Debate (at the Capital One Conference Center in McLean, Virginia from 6 to 8 PM; sign up and join us there!) and we asked a few people why they want to stop Ken Cuccinelli:

"Because my mother is not a second class citizen." -Travis

“Because my mother is not a second class citizen.” -Travis

"Because I think women should keep the right to make their own decisions." -Natalie

“Because I think women should keep the right to make their own decisions.” -Natalie

"I would like to see elected officials look out for and care about the health of all women." -Megan

“I would like to see elected officials look out for and care about the health of all women.” -Megan

"Because he is a cretin." -Will

“Because he is dangerous.” -Will

Ali and Molly want to #StopKen!

Ali and Molly want to #StopKen!

Share in the comments below why you want to #StopKen and keep the conversation going with us on Twitter! Together, we can #StopKen.

Cuccinelli’s ‘Father’s Rights’ Stance Proves Lack of Trust for Women

For Immediate Release: August 29, 2013

Contact: Alena Yarmosky,, (240) 595-2972

Cuccinelli’s ‘Father’s Rights’ Stance Proves Lack of Trust for Women

GOP Gubernatorial candidate has record of restricting women’s healthcare decisions; Keene calls revelation of Cuccinelli’s alliance with groups that claim women lie about abuse “wrong.”

 Today the Washington Post revealed Ken Cuccinelli’s pattern of association with Fathers’ Rights advocates some of whom oppose domestic violence protections, want to reduce child support payments, and insinuate that women lie about incidents of abuse.

Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, released the following statement condemning Cuccinelli’s association with the “Father’s Rights” movement:

“NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia believes that all women have the fundamental right to control their own futures and make decisions about their own lives. No woman should ever be forced by the government to do anything against her will – be it deciding to carry a pregnancy to term, end a pregnancy, or choose not to become a parent. The policies that these so-called “Fathers’ Rights” groups support could force a woman to stay in a marriage – even one in which she is enduring physical abuse – or risk being called a liar or losing contact with her own children. This is absolutely wrong, and goes against all that we stand for.

“Now more than ever, it is obvious that Ken Cuccinelli does not trust the women of Virginia. From injecting his own  ideological agenda into women’s personal and private medical decisions, to allying himself with the extreme beliefs of some “Fathers’ Rights” organizations that claim women lie about domestic abuse, Cuccinelli has proven himself to have absolutely zero respect for the intelligence, autonomy, and well-being of the Commonwealth’s women. Despite what Cuccinelli apparently believes, Virginian women can think and make our own decisions for ourselves – not only about our healthcare but about our families, our lives, and our futures. He should be ashamed.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is dedicated to protecting every woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions without government interference, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.


Ken Cuccinelli Blatantly Misleads Virginians on Birth Control Stance

For Immediate Release: August 27, 2013

Ken Cuccinelli Blatantly Misleads Virginians on Birth Control Stance 

Despite repeated attempts to criminalize and restrict birth control, GOP gubernatorial candidate now claims government shouldn’t legislate contraception

This morning while speaking at Ashby Ponds Senior Center in Loudoun County, GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli once again attempted to whitewash his long record of attacking women’s health and rights.  After receiving a question on his 2007 “personhood” legislation that could have outlawed several forms of birth control, Cuccinelli stated that – despite all evidence to the contrary – he doesn’t actually believe government should legislate contraception.  Cuccinelli said, “I don’t think government should be doing anything about birth control or birth control devices… Government legislation shouldn’t address contraception – that kind of thing.”

Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, reacted with shock at Cuccinelli’s blatant attempt to mislead Virginians on his extreme anti-choice record:

“Ken Cuccinelli has a long and clear history of working to insert government into Virginians’ private, personal medical decisions. Throughout his career Cuccinelli has  exemplified anti-choice politicians who are not only opposed to safe legal abortion but who also want to roll back the clock on access to birth control and sex education – the very means of preventing unintended pregnancy. Now, after years spent attempting to impose criminal restrictions on birth control for minors and supporting a ‘personhood’ bill that could have outlawed IUDs and the pill, Ken Cuccinelli actually wants Virginians to believe he stands for contraceptive freedom. The hypocrisy is outrageous – and Virginians aren’t buying it.” 

Top five ways Cuccinelli has tried to “do something” about birth control:

  1. Co-sponsored 2007 “Personhood” bill to ban abortion without exception, including in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the health of the woman. The bill could also have laid the groundwork for anti-choice attacks on the legality of many common and FDA-approved forms of birth control, including the pill.
  2. Co-sponsored bill to make it more difficult for young women to receive birth control. Legislation would require a teenager’s parents or guardians to be notified every time he/she sought information or treatment for STIs or emergency contraception.
  3. Co-sponsored legislation to put criminal restrictions on birth control for minors. Legislation would have made it a Class 6 felony for a doctor to provide a minor with legal and FDA-approved contraception if he/she had reason to believe that the minor was engaging in sexual relations with a person three or more years older.
  4. Sponsored legislation to funnel money to Virginia “crisis pregnancy centers” – anti-choice fake clinics that regularly lie about birth control and discourage its use. Last month Virginia CPCs were caught on tape suggesting that the birth control pill causes cancer and that condoms are “naturally porous”.
  5. In January Cuccinelli suggested that Virginians should “go to jail” to protest the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, which guarantees insurance coverage of birth control without co-pay. He has been at the forefront of attacks on the Affordable Care Act, which ensures that women’s insurance covers their basic preventative health care needs, including contraception. Cuccinelli has even gone so far as to call improved access to birth control a “sterilization mandate.” 


Contact: Alena Yarmosky,, (240) 595-2972

Exposing Ken Cuccinelli’s “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”

Earlier this week, we published shocking new audio from Virginia “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs). The audio – recorded undercover at two Virginia CPCs – includes a CPC staffer not only spreading misinformation about abortion, but telling a woman that the birth-control pill causes breast cancer and that condoms “don’t work.” (Download the full audio from the two visits here and here.) Centers like these receive funding from a variety of sources including “Choose Life” license plates available through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli – whose anti-choice activism has helped shut down legitimate women’s health clinics across the state – has said he was the “proud sponsor” of the legislation behind the license plates when he served in the State Senate. Through our investigation of crisis pregnancy centers in Virginia, we’ve discovered more about their deceptive tactics, the misinformation they share, and how they’re forwarding an anti-choice agenda under the guise of providing support to women facing unintended pregnancy.

Watch the video below:

UPDATE: Our video and the findings of our investigative report has already been met with outrage and shock from members of the press and public across Virginia and the country.  Check out some of the coverage and conversation happening online below:

NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue also appeared on Politics Nation with Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss our findings and the threat from crisis pregnancy centers across the country.

We can defeat Cuccinelli, but we need an army to take him on. Add your name  so we can count you among the millions of Americans who don’t stand with Cuccinelli and his lies! 

Stop Attorney General Cuccinelli & help us keep our clinics open!

By Alena Yarmosky, Advocacy & Communications Manager

This Friday, the fate of women’s health and safety in Virginia will be decided.

The Virginia Board of Health will meet on Friday April 12th for its final vote on TRAP regulations, politically motivated and burdensome hospital construction requirements that could force the majority of Virginia’s women’s health centers to close as early as next year.

RSVP to join us in Richmond THIS FRIDAY to stand for women’s health!

Last spring, Virginia women won a huge victory when the Board of Health voted to exempt existing abortion providers from these ridiculous and unnecessary construction requirements. But that wasn’t good enough for Attorney General Cuccinelli, who used every trick in the book – including pressure tactics, legal fiction, and outright lies – to bully the Board into changing their minds.

keep our clinics open

Now, the Board of Health is set to make its final decision on the fate of women’s health in the Commonwealth – and it’s critical that you are there to stand with us!

You and I know the truth: from day one AG Cuccinelli has been pulling the strings behind the scenes, and has used his office to corrupt what should be a scientific and evidence based regulatory process. Now, he is even refusing to resign as Attorney General while running for Governor, a tradition 9 of his predecessors have embraced.

Is Cuccinelli staying on as AG just to make sure TRAP regulations pass…and our clinics are forced to close? We wouldn’t be surprised – and it’s absolutely critical that we’re prepared. Please join us on Friday to fight TRAP and take a final stand in the battle for Virginia women’s health.

Feel free to email me with questions or for more information! I hope to see you there!!