Follow-up: Cuccinelli in Virginia

Ken Cuccinelli lost the Virginia election for governor yesterday, but he sure made it interesting. I wrote about him a few months ago, quoting his dead-on-target remark about how being “almost” pro-life doesn’t work for a candidate. The dynamics of the Virginia race have been well-covered elsewhere, and summarized by bloggers far better connected than I. (I commend to you Jonah Goldberg’s thoughts on last night’s Virginia results.) The race turned out to be much closer than predicted, after recent polls showed the eventual winner leading Cuccinelli by double digits. What apparently turned the race into a last-minute nail-biter was voter anger over the Obamacare web site mess and the “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” Presidential untruth.          

Doorways, and why they matter

A bit of thought-provoking reading to take into your weekend: check out this post by Mollie Hemingway in The Federalist. The title of her piece might put you off: “Virginia’s blood-spattered abortion clinics and onerous hallway widths.” Keep reading her essay. It all comes together.

As abortion regulations are enacted around the nation, representatives of the abortion industry raise bitter objections to putting architectural requirements into clinic regs. Why should a woman seeking abortion care how wide the hallways and doorways are inside the abortion facility? Isn’t this an attempt to force facilities to shut down, since remodeling an existing office is almost never cost-effective in the abortion industry?

No. The width of halls and doorways in a health care facility is a matter of patient safety, not provider convenience. Try evacuating an unresponsive patient from a clinic in an emergency situation. Suddenly, those wide doors and halls make sense.

I’ve kept a copy of the grand jury report on Kermit Gosnell, from January 2011. It’s basic reading for anyone, of any persuasion, who’s going to remark on abortion-facility regulations. The night Gosnell’s abortion-and-infanticide practice was finally raided, his sedated patients couldn’t walk on their own. Extricating them was a problem, since halls and doorways weren’t designed to accommodate stretchers (page 21, grand jury report).

Those women weren’t trapped by the dirty equipment throughout the facility, or by the jars of aborted children scattered around. Block those out of your mind, if you can. Imagine that the only problems were narrow doorways and halls. Women were stuck too long because Gosnell did not care enough about women’s health to provide for emergency access.

Amazingly, long after the grand jury report, after Gosnell has been convicted and imprisoned, abortion providers still fight laws like the one in Virginia that prompted Mollie Hemingway to write her post.

I think any legislator or bureaucrat considering regulations on abortion facilities should buy a tape measure. Then go take some photos and make some measurements: an abortion facility’s doors and hallways, and another ambulatory-care facility’s doors and hallways. Have the local EMTs show you what they take into a building to bring out an immobile patient – again, take photos and measurements.

That’s sketchy data, but it’s a start. You want data-driven regulations? Fine. Collect the data. I am skeptical of anyone who tells me that my rights as a woman can only be respected by guaranteeing that I’m entitled to two different safety standards, two different door widths, two different hallway requirements.

If abortion advocates think abortion is health care, they can treat it like health care, right down to the width of the doorways.

What happens to a political party that’s “almost” pro-life?

“We ran on a message of almost being for tax cuts, almost for smaller government, almost for protecting Second Amendment rights, and almost being pro-life. As a result, the voters almost came out and voted for us.” 

Ken Cuccinelli (photo by Gage Skidmore)
Ken Cuccinelli (photo by Gage Skidmore)

Those words were spoken by a Virginia state senator named Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, after the GOP in Virginia got spanked in the 2005 election. (He was quoted in The Wall Street Journal, “How to Turn a Red State Blue”, 2/23/06.)

Cuccinelli survived that election, and went on to become Virginia’s Attorney General. He is now the Republican nominee for governor, going up against abortion advocate Terry McAuliffe. I don’t know Cuccinelli’s voting record offhand, but Planned Parenthood’s corporate knickers are in a twist over his candidacy, so he must be doing something right.

Being “almost” pro-life proved an unwise posture in Virginia eight years ago. What about today? McAuliffe, like many Democratic candidates last year, is aggressively pro-abortion, right down to insisting on public funding for abortion providers. Nothing “almost” about him. Cuccinelli is standing by his own pro-life record.

Since 2005, an unapologetic abortion advocate has been elected president twice. The GOP at the national level has shown itself unwilling to challenge this President on the life issues. It’s left to state-level candidates to prove that it pays to be more than “almost” pro-life.  Good luck to Mr. Cuccinelli.