Why Terry McAuliffe Can’t Be Trusted on Abortion...Especially in One of America's Most Pro-Life States

Cortney O'Brien

10/7/2013 12:30:00 PM - Cortney O'Brien

What do you get from Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe when you ask him about his view on abortion? A weather report.

Leaders in the pro-life movement held a conference call Wednesday regarding Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s ambiguous abortion agenda a month out from the election.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List, was adamant about exposing McAuliffe’s confusing stance.

“Women need to know, every Virginian needs to know […] There are inconsistencies. He has stated he will reopen clinics that have closed from regulations, has stated he would oppose any restriction against abortion. He also said he follows Virginia’s abortion laws, but Virginia has some of the most pro-life legislation in the country. If he supports that, he has changed his position. Which is it? Is he for it or against it?

A little more about Virginia abortion law. In a memo to Dannenfelser, Chuck Donovan of The Lozier Institute detailed the state’s current legislation. Here are a few of his notes:

- Americans United for Life ranks Virginia 10th best among the states in terms of the number and types of pro-life policies in place as of 2013.

- A woman must undergo an external ultrasound and have the opportunity to view the images prior to an abortion.

- Second-trimester abortions must be performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgical center.

- A physician can not perform an abortion on an unemancipated minor under the age of 18 until he or she secures written consent from one parent or “authorized” person who has care and control of the minor.

In addition, under the recently implemented Affordable Care Act, Virginia can opt out of elective abortion coverage. Given all of these restrictions, McAuliffe’s support for Virginia’s abortion laws suggests he is rather pro-life. However, that assumption is immediately falsified when considering the Democrat’s insistence that abortion clinics not be regulated.

The Board of Health reportedly discovered 80 violations in Virginia’s abortion clinics. Dannenfelser commented on the unfortunate findings,

They have bloodstained walls, they don’t have clean equipment, they are performing procedures with unwashed hands. Do they deserve this?

Yet, McAuliffe has vowed to keep these clinics open.

I asked Dannenfelser if Wendy Davis's recent message of support for McAuliffe provides any clarity to where he may stand on abortion.

“It’s important who he associates with,” she said. […] Do you support her or do you support Virginia law?”

While McAuliffe can’t seem to figure out where he stands on abortion rights, he has more than made up his mind about his opponent’s “war on women.” Dannenfelser sighs,

“Twenty-six percent of his campaign has been spent reloading on the ‘war on women’ mythology – lying, in some cases.”

Perhaps this is why a recent WaPo poll showed Cuccinelli behind among women by a staggering 25 points.

In an interview with WaPo’s Chris Cillizza, Cuccinelli responded to McAuliffe’s campaign tactics,

“Take birth control, my opponent is flat out lying – and he knows he’s lying. I do not support government playing a role in adults’ choices about contraception. I just don’t. […] I have never dealt with an opponent who has lied like this guy does. It’s truly unique.”

Indeed. So, while McAuliffe chooses to remark on the sunshine instead of addressing his own views on women's health, he has no problem demonizing his opponent’s supposed agenda to “take women back” to lives of domesticity. A final thought from Dannenfelser regarding McAuliffe’s mixed messaging,

“It’s time to ask him some questions. It’s one of three things: 1.Either he’s personally pro-life and publicly pro-choice, 2. He’s lacking knowledge of the issue, or 3. He’s hoping no one will reveal his position and the inconsistencies which have been underreported. I think it’s a mix of the latter two.”