The pro-life candidate in the Virginia governor’s race is being badly maligned through deliberate falsehoods and a major money disadvantage, according to Susan B. Anthony List President and Chairman Marjorie Dannenfelser.
She is also blasting the decision of a federal district judge in Texas that struck down two provisions of the hotly debate Texas law mandating greater safety in abortion clinics and for no abortions to be performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless extraordinary circumstances exist.
Only Virginia and New Jersey have gubernatorial campaigns this year and with Chris Christie expected to be a runaway winner in the Garden State, most of the political heat centers on Virginia, where GOP Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli faces former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe leads by varying margins in recent polls and his most prominent campaign tactic has been relentless allegations that Cuccinelli would ban birth control.
Dannenfelser says the “mythical war on women theme” worked for President Obama in 2012 so McAuliffe is running the same strategy even though it’s baseless.
“In the minds of voters, they do wonder, ‘Does he really believe in outlawing contraception?’ It’s an emphatic no. It’s simply not true,” said Dannenfelser. “No matter how many times McAuliffe says it, it’s simply not true. They keep running the ads. All the fact-checkers say Ken’s right but it doesn’t really seem to make that much of a difference. Especially near the end, it’s very difficult to clear up misconceptions.”
“Money can do a lot to obfuscate and to muddy what your personal position is and what the other guy’s position is,” she said.
So what is Cuccinelli’s record on abortion?
“The banner issue for him (on abortion) is trying to apply basic safety standards and accepted medical standards to abortion facilities across the state. That just means cleanliness, making sure that there is emergency equipment to help women in distress,” said Dannenfelser, who says there are dozens of reports of ghastly conditions at abortion clinics around the country, particularly where late-term abortions are done that risk the health of women.
“Cuccinelli did a very good job of ushering in this legislation to get those places cleaned up, to provide some standards that are at least up to a dental office standard. That would be the thing that most people know about his record, and it’s one of integrity,” said Dannenfelser, who says the real extremist on abortion in this race is McAuliffe.
“He has very unpopular views when it comes to abortion, and that is taxpayer funding all the way up to the end of pregnancy and won’t oppose sex-selection abortions. He really is the man of the Democratic party who embraces the platform,” she said. “I don’t think people know exactly what McAuliffe’s views are because he’s done a really good job of obfuscating what those views are.”
The highest-profile abortion fight of the year took place in Texas as Democrats filibustered an attempt to pass legislation designed to improve conditions in abortion clinics and ban almost all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy due to the pain that can be felt by the unborn child.
Earlier this week, Federal District Court Judge Lee Yeakel, a George W. Bush appointee, struck down two parts of the law. Specifically, Yeakel ruled that abortion doctors did not need to have admitting privileges at a medical facility within 30 miles of the clinic because it force too many clinics to close. He also nixed a provision forcing doctors to follow strict FDA guidelines on administering drugs in a medication-induced abortion, saying doctors should have the flexibility to do what’s best for the patient.
“When it comes to abortion, the institution of abortion is elevated over the real medical interests of the women many times. So deviating from FDA standards, where if a woman is truly in trouble that she have access to the full complement of medical help that she really must have. This is not just some random reason that this is happening. It’s because of what’s happening in clinics all over America,” said Dannenfelser, who notes the 20-week rule wasn’t even challenged and says the whole bill will eventually get to the Supreme Court.
She also says no elected politician can argue that a late-term abortion restriction is bad for babies or mothers. And she asserts that the vast majority of late-term abortions are not emergencies.
“It’s usually elective, despite what they say. They say it’s all these extreme cases. It’s usually elective. That’s what the data shows,” she said.