Anti-abortion group buys radio time attacking McAuliffe
Any thought that the 2013 race for governor in Virginia would steer clear of controversial social issues like abortion was dispelled Tuesday when an anti-abortion group announced a $50,000 radio ad buy targeting Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
The Susan B. Anthony Fund, which earlier this year pledged to spend $1.5 million on behalf of anti-abortion Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli, paid for the ad through its “Women Speak Out Virginia” PAC.
The ad, which will run for the next two weeks on what the group describes as “Adult and Soft Contemporary and Newstalk stations,” will air in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Norfolk media markets.
The spot criticizes McAuliffe for his opposition to recent clinic regulations passed by the state Board of Health, which will, among other requirements things, force the commonwealth’s 20 existing clinics to retrofit their facilities to comply with standards for new hospital construction.
“In the race for Governor…there’s one candidate who has taken extreme positions far outside the mainstream….one candidate whose radical ideas are troubling to every woman in Virginia. It’s Terry McAuliffe,” the ad states.
“Just this month Terry McAuliffe opposed basic health and safety standards for some women’s health clinics that perform abortions,” the ad continues, going on to suggest that the Democrat is “bowing to political pressure from powerful corporations that run women’s health clinics.”
The ad concludes that McAuliffe is “too extreme” for Virginia — exactly the same terminology Democrats have used to describe Cuccinelli’s stances on abortion, gay rights, and other social issues opposed by the conservative attorney general.
McAuliffe who supports legal access to abortion services, agrees with the view held by medical professionals who participated in researching the building regulations and concluded that they were “medically unnecessary and intended to limit women’s health care access,” said McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin.
“Ken Cuccinelli forced his divisive ideological agenda on Virginian women and it is already having real world ramifications,” Schwerin added. “Cuccinelli himself said that these unnecessary regulations are designed to ‘make abortion disappear in America,’ and already we’ve seen a women’s health clinic be forced to close,” he added.
Answering the call to battle were a number of abortion rights groups, who fired back at S.B.A. and Cuccinelli. As Virginia Attorney General, Cuccinelli refused to certify an earlier version of the regulations that would have exempted existing clinics from the new construction requirements. Earlier this month, one of the clinics, Hillcrest, based in Norfolk, announced it would close due to the new rules.
Caroline O’Shea, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said the regulations “have absolutely nothing to do with protecting women’s health and safety. Instead, they are an insidious back-door ban on safe, legal abortion care through unprecedented regulations not required of any other outpatient facility in the state.”
Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix added:
“It is well known that Ken Cuccinelli is a pro-life candidate. Voters in the Commonwealth are concerned with the state of the economy and creating jobs.”