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On Our Radar – Virginia – Not For Lovers Any Longer

by Jean Ann Esselink on August 11, 2013

in Healthcare,Jean Ann Esselink,News,On Our Radar,War on Women

Post image for On Our Radar – Virginia – Not For Lovers Any Longer

You probably know Ken Cuccinelli has been trying to preserve Virginia’s anti-sodomy laws that criminalize even oral sex. But did you know he is also behind shaming and providing false information to pregnant women? Today Virginia, not for lovers any longer, is On Our Radar.

Virginia Is For Erotophobes. Erotophobics? Erotophobians? What do you think? If Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli gets himself elected to the governorship, Virginia is going to need a replacement for their iconic “Virginia Is For Lovers” slogan. “Erotophobia” is the fear of sex.  In a state with The Cooch running the show, the term would seem to apply.

Last April, Mr. Cuccinelli came On Our Radar for his attempt to get Virginia’s “Crimes Against Nature” Statute re-litigated in front of the Supreme Court. The statute not only makes sodomy a crime, but oral sex between heterosexual partners as well. Here’s the actual law, which, thanks to the efforts of Ken Cuccinelli when he was a state senator,  is still on the books in Virginia:

18.2-361. Crimes against nature; penalty.

If any person carnally knows in any manner any brute animal, or carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth, or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

I suppose if Mr. Cuccinelli were ever successful at getting the court to enforce the statute, we could change the state slogan to “Virginia Is For Bad Lovers.” Boring lovers? Missionary Position Lovers? I can joke about it, because even if the Cooch were elected governor, it’s hard to see him restoring the Crimes Against Nature Law. But his anti-sodomy efforts are not the only way Cuccinelli has been trying to control the sex lives of the citizens of Virginia. He is not just trying to make gay sex illegal. He is using the power of his office to try to keep unmarried women from having sex, or from using birth control.

You will no doubt recall back in 2012, Virginia passed a bill requiring any pregnant woman seeking an abortion to have an invasive trans-vaginal ultasound first. The national attention the bill received gave Governor Bob McDonnell cold feet, and even though the Cooch was publicly urging him to sign the bill, at the last minute, the governor chickened out. The legislature revised the bill to include a less invasive, but still unnecessary sonogram, and McDonnell signed on. It is now the law in Virginia.

In an effort to mitigate the expense of paying for the politically mandated procedure, the pro-choice members of the legislature passed an amendment requiring women’s clinics to provide pregnant women seeking an abortion a list of clinics that offer free ultrasounds. What the pro-choice lawmakers didn’t contemplate, was that the list the Virginia Department of Health would compile would contain only the names of Virginia’s right-wing Crisis Pregnancy Centers. (CPCs) These Centers exist only to try to talk women out of ending unwanted pregnancies. So the government of Virginia is now funneling almost all the state’s young, low-income women seeking abortions through these anti-choice clinics, with the promise of a free ultrasound.

Here’s the part where the Cooch comes in.

Attorney General Cuccinelli used his office to get these CPCs the funding they needed to offer the free sonograms as a means to lure abortion seekers into their offices. The Cooch, who has always been a vocal supporter of the state’s CPCs,  arranged for the Department of Motor Vehicles to offer a “Choose Life” license plate, with the profits going to fund ultrasounds only at anti-choice CPCs. So today in Virginia, if a pregnant woman walks into an abortion clinic and asks to terminate her pregnancy but doesn’t have the money for a sonogram, the abortion provider is mandated by statute to give her a list of places that will exchange the promise of a sonogram, for an hour of harassment.

pregnantConcerned about the situation in Virginia, NARAL sent young women into the state recommended CPCs undercover, with some mind blowing results. If they hadn’t recorded the audio, I would have thought they were exaggerating for effect. I expected the CPC counselors would show pictures of babies and make an emotional plea for adoption as an alternative to abortion. I did not expect women to be shamed for having sex, yet there it is, recorded for all to hear. “If you’re not married, why are you having sex?” The CPC “counselor” demands.

The recordings made by the undercover NARAL women were indeed disturbing for the way the women were shamed, and asked for the details of their sex lives, which is nobody’s business. Abortion is a constitutional right. Can you imagine a gun buyer being asked about what he has shot in the past before he is allowed to buy a gun? But even more unconscionable is that young women, in a bewildering, emotionally charged situation, are also lied to by these CPC counselors in ways that could be detrimental to their health and well-being. They even admit to the lies. They claim it is their first amendment right.

The NARAL agents posing as pregnant women seeking to end their pregnancies were told some blatant untruths by the CPC counselors. Any misrepresentation made in a medical setting is concerning, but none more so than the whopper that birth control pills are filled with carcinogens that can cause breast cancer and could make a woman abort any future pregnancies. That’s right, each and every clinic on the state’s list of free sonogram providers is not just anti-abortion, they are also anti-contraception. They espouse abstinence, and abstinence only. “Confined to a marriage, of course, sex is expected” one of the undercover women was told. “You believe in God, that’s the whole plan of God.”

According to her CPC counselor, taking birth control pills is the same as taking massive doses of steroids. “You really want that stuff inside of you?” The counselor harangues her. “You have a brain, think and choose here, any of that stuff is just not good for you.” She went on to claim “If you’re on the pill, on the patch, on the shot, and get pregnant… unintentionally, you will abort that baby because the uterus cannot sustain that pregnancy because the lining has been so altered by those steroids, the artificial hormones.” According to the counselor, using birth control increases a woman’s likelihood of getting breast cancer by 48%

Even more concerning is that they tell women condoms are porous, and won’t stop STDs. Recent studies have shown a full 60% of young people believe contraception is less effective than it actually is, making them more likely to have sex without it. Why bother if it doesn’t really work? The Cooch may believe the CPCs have a first amendment right to lie, but telling young women not to protect themselves with a condom seems to me to cross into territory where they are intentionally endangering the health of the women they “counsel”. 

You can listen to the two undercover encounters here: Visit #1  Visit #2

Through its Motor Vehicle Department, the State of Virginia is now paying the tab to allow women to be misinformed about their health. And there are other horror stories besides. Women who have sat through the counseling sessions and still want an abortion are often denied the free sonogram at the end. At least one woman filed a complained alleging that after she received her free sonogram, the CPC refused to send it to an abortion provider. Another found someone had written “Hi Dad” on the image. And abortion clinics report many of the sonograms sent to them by the CPCs are not usable, obviously done by someone not trained to perform a sonogram.

What bigger insult to women is there than to tell them they don’t need to know the truth about their own bodies? Democrats have drafted legislation to make it a crime for CDCs, which are not regulated, to intentionally lie to patients. Republicans however, oppose it, and will not bring it to the floor for a vote. Apparently we can’t handle the truth.

I find the vision Cooch offers so very depressing. Virginia, the state for lovers, has turned into Virginia, the state where erotophobia thrives. I can’t imagine why anyone who has a working penis or vagina would vote for him. And yet, he could be governor.

Today Virginia, the state no longer for lovers, is On Our Radar.


Virginia image from Slap Upside The Head Twitter

tncrmJean Ann Esselink is a straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle.

Follow me on Twitter as @Uncucumbered or friend me on Facebook.

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discolingua August 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Thanks for this upsetting but informative article. As a Virginia resident, it's important for me to try to stay on top of all the evil perpetrated by the state government, and stories like this don't really make the headlines.

But y'know, I'm not really sure how I feel about the "Cooch" thing. Make no mistake, I think Cuccinelli is reprehensible, but I'm not really on board with cutesy partisan name calling. The facts are damning enough on their own, and it makes me a little self-conscious about sharing the story on twitter and facebook (I did anyway). Plus, Cuccinelli doesn't deserve to be associated with anything as awesome as lady parts.

Newgirlde August 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Wait wait wait.

The lady in the second clip actually says: "I don't know what smoking would have to do [with] a blood clot, I'm not a doctor."

What? Lady, you shouldn't be giving women medical advice if your 'not a doctor'. I know that at the beginning of this long rant she said "in my opinion" but she went from expressing her opinion to giving false or unverified medical advice.

Dr. Simone Roberts August 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I write at Virginia NOW. Thanks for addressing this issues. We've addressed some of them here:

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