Tea Party-backed Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli is doing everything in his power to make abortion restrictions more stringent in his state.
Cuccinelli essentially goaded the Virginia legislature into writing highly restrictive and unnecessary guidelines for abortion clinics, based on his own unsolicited legal guidance and legislation he failed to enact when he was in the statehouse. Those efforts took the form of Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP), which requires clinics to resemble an emergency room and undergo structural changes.
A group named “Cooch Watch” after Ken ‘The Cooch’ Cuccinelli just launched to fight back. They aim to stop the attorney general from forcing his will on Virginians. Medical student and former abortion clinic worker Stephanie Arnold is leading the group of about 10 women. Arnold said on a call today that Cooch Watch plans to “attend Mr. Cuccinelli’s public events, ask questions, protest, and remind Mr. Cuccinelli that he is being watched” and will be “held accountable for his actions”:
Everyone knows that if clinics have to somehow find a quarter of a million dollars to unnecessarily upgrade, many will close their doors. [...] Cooch Watch is relevant now more than ever. [...]
The Attorney General has aspirations of running for governor and he’s really just shown a reckless abuse of power and it’s something that people need to be paying attention to. For us, this is starting with TRAP but I have every intention of continuing to keep an eye on him for the people of Virginia. He’s just on a rampage.
Virginia has become a major battleground on abortion rights. The state was in the news earlier this year for its invasive and unnecessary proposed transvaginal ultrasound bill, which led to statewide protests. They also passed a mandated 24-hour waiting period before abortions, and now require all women to have an ultrasound before the procedure. Places that the state lists as ultrasound providers are all anti-abortion “pregnancy crisis centers.”
Cooch Watch will start its activism tonight, attending a Tea Party rally at which Cuccinelli is speaking.