Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general and presumptive Republican candidate for governor, is at the center of a controversy after he paralleled the fight to ban abortion rights to the battle to end slavery.
Cuccinelli made the statements before supporters last summer. They were recorded and later posted on the internet by a Democratic lawmaker.
The comment touch on two of the biggest hot button issues: abortion and slavery. Cuccinelli was not saying slaves’ rights to be freed were the same as womens’ rights to an abortion, but rather that history has a way of showing us what’s right and that the stance on abortion will prevail just as the right stance on slavery did. The comparison alone is causing controversy.
“Our experience as a country has demonstrated that on one issue just after another,” says Cuccinelli. “Start right at the beginning, slavery. Today, abortion. You know, history has shown us what the right position was.”
The Republican gubernatorial candidate made the remarks last June at an event for The Family Foundation as he attempted to rally support for his pro-life position. The video was shot and released by the Democratic Party of Virginia and pro-choice proponents wasted no time pouncing on the comparison.
“I think his comments are ignorant, offensive, and show how out of touch he is with Virginia women,” says Dr. Laura Meyers of Planned Parenthood.
Cuccinelli’s campaign calls the attacks an effort to pivot the election from issues pivotal to Virginians, stating, “Ken has always been pro-life. His top priorities are finding ways to grow Virginia’s economy, fighting for middle class taxpayers, and improving our educational system. Terry McAuliffe does not want to talk about these important issues or creating jobs in Virginia.”
Democrat Terry McAuliffe is Cuccinelli’s likely competitor in the race for the Commonwealth’s governor. POLITICO’S James Hohmann says highlighting these remarks is just a way to continue to paint Cuccinelli as waging a war on women.
“This is a video that allows Dems to make campaign ads to win over African Americans, galvanize them for Terry McAuliffe, and to sort of present Ken Cuccinelli as someone outside the mainstream,” Hohmann says.