VA Attorney General To Employers: Choose Jail Over Reproductive Health Coverage


Ken Cuccinelli

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia.

On Wednesday evening, Virginia’s conservative Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli appeared on conservative host Steve Deace’s radio show (podcast available here), where he praised Hobby Lobby’s efforts to defy the reproductive health coverage mandates in the Affordable Care Act, and encouraged civil disobedience among other bill opponents.

Cuccinelli is perhaps best known for filing suit on behalf of Virginia challenging the Affordable Healthcare Act mere minutes after it was signed into law. That challenge was later thrown out by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Yes, this is the guy who will be running to replace Governor Bob McDonnell (aka Governor Vaginal Probe, so named for his support of forcing women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds before receiving abortions).

The interview with Cuccinelli was actually centered around the country’s current gun debate. He and the host began by talking about what would happen if President Obama signed an executive order to go out and “confiscate all the guns.” (To Cuccinelli’s credit, he admitted that that was out of the realm of possibilities and equated it to a “crazy hypothetical.”) The host then intimated that the left was masterminding a plan to make right-wing extremists appear crazy with their talk of revolution, using Alex Jones as “the face of the pro-Second Amendment crowd,” so that any gun control measure passed would seem moderate by comparison. He said:

“Between Piers Morgan’s efforts to make Alex Jones the face of the pro-Second Amendment crowd … and throwing something outrageous like this out there, are they doing this to provoke our side to act outrageously by claiming, yeah, we’re going to storm the streets, and this will be an American revolution, so that they can then say, ‘See, these people are crazy,’ and then go through the legislative process and try to sneak something that seems like far more modest and reasonable gun control past the goalie, which now doesn’t look so radical because we’ve sort of played to a negative stereotype? Do you think I’m giving them too much credit or is there a master plan here?”

Cuccinelli replied:

“I would say there was a master plan along those lines…. It wouldn’t surprise me if that was part of the P.R. plan, if you will.”

Deace concludes the interview by asking for Cuccinelli’s take on the “Hobby Lobby religious conscience case with Obamacare.”

“I gotta give them credit for courage. Abraham Lincoln has many good quotes, but one of them is the best way to get rid of a bad law is to enforce it vigorously. And here we’re gonna’ have an example of what tyranny means when it’s played to its logical conclusion.”

Tyranny? Requiring an insurance plan to meet all reproductive health needs of an employer’s female employees? The way they talk, you’d think President Obama was forcing an abortion on Hobby Lobby CEO David Green. Last I checked, no one is asking Mr. Green to stop believing that women should have no say in what happens to their own bodies. But because we live in a country where health insurance is inexorably tied to employment, employees have the right to the full spectrum of health coverage, no matter what the patriarchal religious views of their employer happens to be, and no matter how vehemently that employer wants to force his (and very rarely her) religious views on workers.

Cuccinelli Family.

Apparently, the Cuccinelli family does not use birth control. Photo from Cuccinelli’s Web site.

Cuccinelli goes on to say:

“I think you’re going to see more Hobby Lobbies out there, of people who are just not willing to take this. … This attack on the Catholic Church – my local Bishop said, ‘Well, you know what, I told a group I’m ready to go to jail,’ and I said, ‘Bishop, don’t take this personally – you need to go to jail.’ And what I mean by that is people need to see it play out all the way to its logical conclusion, and this guy is making them do it, God bless him. You know what my prediction is, is they’re going to find some way to weasel out of actually making him do it because they’re too scared of actually playing the case out.”

No, probably why the bishop in question won’t go to jail is because churches are exempt from the requirement to offer insurance that covers contraception. Perhaps the bishop in question also has a private business with more than 50 employees? At any rate, since there still seems to be a great deal of confusion – primarily propagated by the right – regarding the Affordable Care Act and women’s preventive services, Director of White House Domestic Policy Council Celia Muñoz explains it all very succinctly at her White House blog.

Women of Virginia – this November, we’re counting on you to ensure Cuccinelli does not end up governing your state, and consequently your bodies.