Briefing: The Extreme Cuccinelli-Marshall Agenda
Last week Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli made news when he suggested that opponents of the federal birth control coverage mandate should “go to jail” rather than follow the law of the land. Those comments may have been the highest profile example of Cuccinelli’s fixation with curtailing women’s access to reproductive rights, but they are far from the first.
From his time in the Virginia Senate through his tenure as Attorney General, Cuccinelli and his allies – most notably Delegate Bob Marshall – have waged a mult-front war on a woman’s right to make her own health care choices.
Marshall’s yearly anti-women’s health bills often die at the hands of House Republicans who even recognize how extreme they are. However, a Cuccinelli governorship would breathe new life into an agenda that he has spent his entire career fighting for at Marshall’s side.
“No two people in this Commonwealth have done more to turn back the clock on women’s rights than Ken Cuccinelli and Bob Marshall,” said DPVA Chair Charniele Herring. “Virginia families need a Governor who brings a mainstream approach to growing jobs and the economy, not more of the extreme Cuccinelli-Marshall agenda to inject government between a woman and her doctor.”
Below is a briefing on the Cuccinelli-Marshall agenda Virginians could expect to see advance should Cuccinelli get elected Governor.
Ken Cuccinelli and Bob Marshall: Fighting to Drag Virginia Backward
Long Time Political Allies
Endorsed Bob Marshall over Frontrunner Jim Gilmore for Senate
In January 2008, Cuccinelli endorsed Delegate Robert Marshall over frontrunner Jim Gilmore to replace John Warner in the US Senate, citing Marshall’s stronger pro-life position.
He said, “Bob thinks life begins at conception, and as I understand Jim Gilmore's position, he is unwilling to protect unborn children until 60 or 90 days.” [Washington Post, 1/08/08]
AG Cuccinelli’s Most Controversial Opinions have come at “Like-Minded” Del. Marshall’s Behest
In September 2010, the Washington Post reported, “Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has issued several controversial legal opinions in the past few months, concluding, for instance, that police could check the immigration status of those stopped by law-enforcement officers, that the state could impose stricter oversight of clinics that perform abortions and that local governments could allow religious holiday displays on public property. In each instance, the request for the opinion came from the same person: Del. Robert G. Marshall (Prince William), a like-minded Republican who shares Cuccinelli's far-right views.” [Washington Post, 9/21/10]
Del. Robert Marshall Praised Cuccinelli despite Controversies—“It Just Raises His Name Recognition”
The New York Times reported, “’Ken is in tune with typical family people, people who work in this state,’ said Robert G. Marshall, a Republican delegate from Prince William County. Mr. Cuccinelli's popularity, he said, derives from his sharp legal mind and stead-fastness to his principles regardless of what others think. ‘When others make him seem controversial, it just raises his name recognition,’ Mr. Marshall said.” [New York Times, 3/25/10]
Standing Together against Access to Contraception
Cuccinelli Slammed Contraception Coverage in Health Care Law, Promulgated “Contraception Sterilization Abortifacient Debate”
He said the coverage requirement was “deeply offensive to a lot of people who have no real stake in the churches versus contraception sterilization abortifacient debate.” [CSPAN, 3/15/12]
Del. Marshall Introduced Two Bills in 2013 Session that would Require Plans without Coverage for “Contraception…Sterilization….Abortifacient Drugs”
The Free Lance Star reported, “Two bills filed Wednesday for the 2013 General Assembly session by Marshall, R-Prince William, say that any health insurance company that offers plans covering “contraception methods, sterilization procedures, or abortifacient drugs or devices” must also offer a plan that does not cover those items.” [Free Lance Star, 10/04/12]
He said, “The fact that [President Barack Obama] could have done other things that would not have compelled people who have conscientious objections to this to do this, shows he wants to attack the conscience, the moral thinking and understanding of Americans. To make me participate in something that I can look in the Old Testament and find is forbidden, where does he get the authority, where does he get the nerve to even think about this?” [Free Lance Star, 10/04/12]
Senate Passed Cuccinelli Amendment to Defund Planned Parenthood
In February 2008, the Senate passed Cuccinelli’s budget amendment that would prohibit the direction of taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood.
The Washington Post reported, “The GOP-controlled House has long pushed to cut off state aid for Planned Parenthood, but the moderate Republicans who controlled the Senate until this year fought off the effort. On Thursday, however, all 19 Senate Republicans decided they would vote for the amendment sponsored by Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax), who is considering running for attorney general next year.” [Washington Post, 2/28/08]
Called Planned Parenthood an “Abortion Mill”
Cuccinelli defended his amendment that would cut out the traditionally $250,000 to $500,000 in the budget for programs operated by Planned Parenthood.
He said, “What we are doing is financing an abortion-mill operator. This will deny them that money.” [Washington Post, 2/29/08]
Funding for Planned Parenthood Reinstated in the Budget
In April 2008, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported, “During the recently concluded General Assembly session, Cuccinelli offered an amendment to strip $200,000 in funding for Planned Parenthood. Budget negotiators later restored the funding.” [Richmond Times Dispatch, 4/01/08]
Del. Marshall Called again for an End to Funding for Planned Parenthood: Said Birth Defects were God’s Punishment for Women Who Have Abortions
In February 2010, the Washington Post reported Del. Bob Marshall, R-13th addressed a press conference to oppose state funding for Planned Parenthood. At the conference he called disabled children God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.
He said, “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.” [WTOP, 2/21/10]
History of Working together to Shutdown Abortion Clinics
In the legislature, Sen. Cuccinelli and Del. Marshall teamed up repeatedly on legislation to force abortion clinics to comply with hospital regulations—a move deemed to be a veiled attempt to close down clinics. Despite passing the House, their similar bills repeatedly failed to advance in the Senate. [2006: HB 189, SB 580; 2004: HB 116, SB 146; 2003: HB 2367, SB 772]
Planned Parenthood: Hospital Standard Legislation is Excuse to Shut Down Clinics
Ben Greenberg, director of government relations for Planned Parenthood said, “Most clinics are in facilities that would not be able to meet these requirements, such as hallways that could fit two gurneys or operating rooms…They are trying to target those who perform the procedure and trying to shut them down…With everything else the legislature has to deal with, they should not be focusing on this.” [Washington Times, 1/03/03]
Republican Pro-Choice Coalition Criticized Bill
In February 2004, Katherine Waddell, chairwoman of the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition, argued the legisltaion was aimed at driving clinics out of business.
She said, “This is about legislators forcing their own religious beliefs on all Virginians.” [AP, 2/05/04]
In his first year as Attorney General, Cuccinelli issued an opinion in response to a request from Del. Marshall stating that the Board of Health had the authority to regulate abortion clinic facilities by hospital standards. [Office of the Attorney General, 8/20/10; Washington Post, 8/24/10]
Cuccinelli’s opinion cleared the path for the legislature to pass a bill holding abortion clinics to hospital standards—a move that could force 17 of the state’s 21 abortion clinics to close. The controversial legislation passed the Senate with a tie-breaking vote by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. [SB 924; Washington Post, 2/24/11]
Del. Marshall urged the Board of Health to pass new regulations in keeping with the legislation. [Letter to Virginia Department of Health, 9/14/11]
Under additional pressure from Attorney General Cuccinelli, the Board of Health wrote new regulations for abortion clinics without grandfathering in protections for existing clinics. It was reported Cuccinelli threatened the board “if they did not heed his advice against grandfathering, his office would not defend them in any resulting litigation, and that they could be personally on the hook for legal bills.” [Washington Post, 9/13/12]