Fact Check: Susan B. Anthony List’s Radio Ad Supporting Ken Cuccinelli


Given that Susan B. Anthony List defended Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock after their extreme comments on pregnancy in cases of rape last year, it’s no surprise they also support Ken Cuccinelli’s extreme advocacy for unnecessary and burdensome regulations that could force many of the state’s 23 abortion clinics to close.

Fact Check

SBA List Radio Ad Attacks McCauliffe Over Abortion Clinic Regulations. According to Politico’s “Morning Score,” “The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List is targeting Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in new radio ad out today—the first paid advertising so far on behalf of either candidate. In the ad, SBA List goes after McAuliffe for opposing the Virginia Board of Health’s new regulations for abortion clinics—measures McAuliffe called an ‘unnecessary move’ on the part of the state and many pro-abortion rights activists opposed as an attempt to financially cripple abortion clinics. ‘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 says.” [Politico, 4/23/13]

The real facts about the Virginia Board of Health’s new regulations for abortion clinics

Cuccinelli Put “Significant Pressure” On The State Board Of Health To “Crackdown On Abortion Clinics” With New Building Codes. According to the Washington Examiner, “The state Board of Health vote on Friday follows two years of contentious debate that included significant pressure from Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, who favored a more aggressive crackdown on abortion clinics. Last year, Cuccinelli refused to certify an agreement between health officials to exempt existing clinics from the tougher rules, and he threatened not to represent the board in any legal challenges if it ignored his concerns. Health officials agreed to rewrite the rules so they applied to existing clinics, prompting Health Commissioner Dr. Karen Remley to resign in protest.” [Washington Examiner, 4/11/13]

  • The New “Burdensome” Building Codes, Such As Parking Lot Size And Hallways Width Mandates, May Force Clinics To Close. According to the Washington Examiner, “Virginia health officials are poised to approve strict new rules for abortion clinics Friday amid massive opposition from pro-choice groups and a governor’s race with two candidates closely tied to the opposing sides. Under the new guidelines, clinics would be required to meet the same building codes as hospitals, including bigger parking lots, wider hallways and larger operating rooms. Opponents of the measure say the changes would be burdensome and costly and could force many of the state’s 23 providers to close their doors.” [Washington Examiner, 4/11/13]

It’s Cuccinelli who has the extreme record on a woman’s right to choose

Washington Post: Cuccinelli, “Opposes Access To Abortion, Without Exceptions In The Case Of Rape Or Incest.” According to the Washington Post, “Cuccinelli, 33, is counting on anti-tax and social conservative forces. “We’re not fighting over the middle ground,” he said. He grew up in McLean and practices patent law at an intellectual property firm in Arlington. Cuccinelli is a social conservative who opposes access to abortion, without exceptions in the case of rape or incest.” [Washington Post, 8/28/02]

Cuccinelli’s Website Touted His Efforts To Defund Planned Parenthood. According to a 2009 archived version of Cuccinelli’s website, “As a State Senator, I have supported initiatives to: … Defund (of taxpayer dollars) Planned Parenthood, a multi-billion dollars organization.” [Cuccinelli.com, Archived 3/10/2009]

Cuccinelli Compared Anti-Abortion Movement To Slavery Abolitionism. According to the Associated Press, “Virginia Democrats pushed two deeply emotional hot buttons Tuesday in the state’s gubernatorial race, slamming Republican Ken Cuccinelli for equating the nation’s bloody reckoning over slavery with today’s anti-abortion movement. Nearly eight months before election day the Democratic Party of Virginia released video from last June that shows Cuccinelli addressing a small gathering of religious conservatives meeting in Williamsburg. It continues the Democrats’ strategy of portraying the socially conservative attorney general as too extreme for a swing state. ‘Over time, the truth demonstrates its own rightness, and its own righteousness. Our experience as a country has demonstrated that on one issue after another. Start right at the beginning — slavery. Today, abortion,’ Cuccinelli said in remarks recorded by a Democratic Party tracker at a Family Foundation event on June 14, 2012. ‘History has shown us what the right position was, and those were issues that were attacked by people of faith aggressively to change the course of this country,’ he said. ‘We need to fight for the respect for life, not just for life but for respect for life. One leads to the other.’” [Associated Press, 3/19/2013]

SBA List Background Information

An extreme record on women’s issues and support of extreme candidates

SBA List Aims To “Reduce And Ultimately End Abortion.” According to its website, “The Susan B. Anthony List, and its connected Political Action Committee, the SBA List Candidate Fund, are dedicated to electing candidates and pursuing policies that will reduce and ultimately end abortion. To that end, the SBA List will emphasize the election, education, promotion, and mobilization of pro-life women.”[SBA-List.org, accessed 4/19/13]

SBA List’s Top Legislative Priorities Are “Defunding Planned Parenthood” And “Ending All Federal Funding Of Abortion.” According to its website, “SBA List has two main legislative priorities: ending all federal funding of abortion and ending taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood.” The “Pro-Life Legislation” section of the website includes individual pages for “Defunding Planned Parenthood” and “H.R. 3 No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” [SBA-List.org, accessed 4/18/13]

Marjorie Dannenfelser Is President Of SBA List – Supported Virginia’s Mandatory Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill. When Chris Matthews questioned Dannenfelser about a bill in Virginia effectively requiring women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds before obtaining an abortion, Dannenfelser stated, “Really, this is a matter of giving a woman more information that she needs to make a decision that`s fully informed. […] The reason the majority of women in Virginia and across the country support this is that they believe in that vulnerable spot in a very difficult place, that more information is better. And making — there are two decisions to make. One decision is a medical decision. One is about the very contentious, very difficult decision about what is actually happening in an abortion. And that ultrasound speaks to that. It`s science. It`s a scientific opinion backing up a medical reality. And a moral –” Dannenfelser was cut off before completing her sentence. [MSNBC, Hardball, 2/22/12]

SBA List Defended Todd Akin Following His “Legitimate Rape” Comments. According to the Washington Post, “Republican leadership has a not so-subtle-hint for Todd Akin: They would like the Missouri Senate candidate, who remarked that ‘legitimate rape’ rarely results in pregnancy, out of the race — and sooner rather than later. […] Pro-life groups, however, have taken a decidedly different take. Both the Susan B. Anthony List and Family Research Council have stood by Akin. They don’t see him as a politician who has made a career ending gaffe. In their view, he’s a strong abortion right opponent who articulated a tenet of the pro-life movement: Abortion should be illegal in all situations, rape included. ‘Todd Akin … has a record of voting to protect human life,’ said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, reaffirming her support in a statement. He ‘has been an excellent partner in the fight for the unborn.’” [Washington Post, 8/21/12]

The President Of Susan B. Anthony List Said “She Couldn’t Agree More” With Richard Mourdock’s Statement That Pregnancy Resulting From Rape Was “A Gift From God.” According to The Courier-Journal, “After setting off a political furor that drew in both presidential campaigns, Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock on Wednesday stood by his comments that pregnancy after rape is ‘something that God intended.’ […] The Indiana Right to Life political action committee issued a statement supporting Mourdock. And the head of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group supporting women candidates, said she ‘couldn’t agree more’ with Mourdock’s comments.” [The Courier-Journal, 10/25/12]

  • After Elections, SBA List Announced “Training Program” To Stop Politicians From Making Offensive Statements About Rape. According to Politico, “Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said the lawmakers are falling for a trap set by proponents of abortion rights who want to focus the debate on extremes such as rape instead of other abortions. ‘It’s a tactic to [force pro-life lawmakers to] talk about this rather than the 98 percent of abortions because they know that they lose it,’ Dannenfelser said. She said that SBA List is working on a new training program for candidates and lawmakers to ‘make sure that in future elections, a candidate can never with a straight face say, ‘I never thought about that or I got caught flat-footed.’’” [Politico, 1/11/13]