Virginia's Neo-Confederate attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli II, has a plan to close family-planning clinics that provide abortions in his state. Not, of course, that his plan says that. On the contrary, he presents it as protection for pregnant women and children. His opinion on the subject, issued Friday, states that the state “has the authority to promulgate regulations for facilities in which first trimester abortions are performed, as well as for providers of first trimester abortions, so long as the regulations adhere to constitutional limitations.”
That is, of course, true. But currently the clinics are regulated by the state's medical and health boards and treated the same as clinics that offer outpatient care such as plastic surgery and oral surgery. Cuccinelli reads the law as allowing clinics that provide abortions to be regulated in the same way as hospitals. Even though they are not hospitals. Reproductive rights activists rightly view this effort by Cuccinelli and other social conservatives in the Virginia government, including the governor, to close as many as possible of the state's 21 clinics where abortions are still performed. Tarina Keene, the executive director of NARAL/Pro-Choice in Virginia, points out in the interview below that 86 percent of towns and cities in Virginia already have no abortion providers. She believes that implementation of the attorney general's opinion would mean 17 of the 21 clinics would be forced to close.
Behind the legal façade Cuccinelli has launched the opening round in yet another of the efforts to curb women's exercise of their legal rights. Such efforts have been ongoing for the entire 37 years since the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade. And they won't be stopping any time soon.
Rachel Maddow nailed it Tuesday:
For those who believe in reproductive rights, it's a never-ending struggle, a skirmish here, a major battle there. Those who challenge women's choice in this deeply personal matter are the same as they always were. At its foundation, this is a fight over who will control women's sexuality, individual women, or politicians imposing religiously based laws and regulations.