A national anti-abortion organization has committed at least $1.5 million to the gubernatorial campaign of Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli, drawing a predictable backlash from Democrats and abortion –rights supporters in the closely watched Virginia race.
The Susan B. Anthony List, a political action committee, announced today that it will commit at least $1.5 million to electing Cuccinelli, a popular figure with social conservatives. The Associated Press first reported the development on Wednesday.
“Ken Cuccinelli’s record of fighting exploitation of the most vulnerable is not just a position that he takes, it is clearly an extension of who he is,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser in a news release. “Ken’s leadership in defending women against violence on campus and in fighting human trafficking in Virginia is entirely consistent with his stance in favor of protecting the innocent unborn.”
The SBA List says it has 365,000 members. The organization describes its mission as “dedicated to pursuing policies and electing candidates who will reduce and ultimately end abortion.”
Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix said the Republican is proud to have the organization’s backing.
As a state senator and attorney general, Cuccinelli has been on the front lines of some major battles over abortion rights and access. Last year, his office advised the state board of health that it could not grandfather existing abortion clinics from new state regulations requiring abortion facilities to meet the same building standards as hospitals. The board has yet to act to take final action on the regulations, which no longer include the grandfather provisions.
Democrats and abortion-rights groups said the SBA List contribution underscores their argument that Cuccinelli’s agenda is hostile toward women’s health issues.
“Cuccinelli’s anti-women’s health agenda may please this radical special interest group, but it would be an extremely dangerous step backward for Virginia women,” said Lauren Harmon, the executive director of the state Democratic Party.
“The Susan B. Anthony List has a long history of waging war on women’s rights and healthcare, from their support of radical ‘personhood’ legislation to their fight to ban access to abortion in all cases – including rape, incest, and danger to the life of the mother,” said Caroline O’Shea, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, in a written statement.
“It is unsurprising that they would back Cuccinelli, who shares their extreme agenda and has a similar disregard for the health and well-being of Virginian women,” O’Shea said.
Nix said the attacks suggest that Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe and his team are out of touch.
“Terry McAuliffe and his team are so out of touch with reality, that they believe if you don’t agree with their ultra liberal agenda then you must be attacked and defeated at all costs,” Nix said. “From leading the charge against human trafficking, to advocating for mental health reform,to keeping our children safe from sexual predators, Ken Cuccinelli will always fight for the people of Virginia.”
– Michael Sluss