The ad, which will air on Northern Virginia, Norfolk and Richmond stations for two weeks, underscores the role that abortion will play in the race to succeed term-limited Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), an abortion opponent who at times has tried to downplay the issue but recently supported applying strict, hospital-style building codes to Virginia clinics.
McAuliffe and his Republican opponent, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, are on opposite sides of the issue, with McAuliffe an abortion-rights supporter and Cuccinelli an opponent. Each has tried to cast the other as an extremist on the issue.
Susan B. Anthony List has been a big supporter of Cuccinelli, announcing an initial $1.5 million commitment to the race in February. The radio ad comes out of that $1.5 million. Advocacy and political groups affiliated with Planned Parenthood have lined up behind McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
The ad portrays McAuliffe as someone opposed to “common ground abortion center health and safety standards.”
“In the race for governor, there’s one candidate who has taken extreme positions, far outside the mainstream, one candidate whose radical ideas are troubling to every woman in Virginia,” a female narrator says in the spot. “It’s Terry McAuliffe.
“Just this month, Terry McAuliffe opposed basic health and safety standards for some women’s health clinics that perform abortions. McAuliffe refuses to require women’s health clinics to provide the same sanitary environment we expect of dental offices and hospitals. McAuliffe is bowing to the political pressure from powerful corporations that run women’s health clinics.
“They put their own interests above the health of safety of their patients. Virginia women’s clinics have been cited for unsanitary conditions, poor staff training, and poorly maintained equipment. But Terry McAuliffe is afraid to stand up for women’s health. He’s afraid to stand up for you.”
Mallory Quigley, a spokeswoman for the Susan B. Anthony List and Women Speak Out Virginia, sought to tie McAuliffe’s support for abortion rights to the capital murder trial of of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion doctor.
“In light of Kermit Gosnell’s ‘house of horrors,’ it is an outrage that anyone who purports to care about women would oppose efforts to ensure that Virginia women are treated with basic dignity and respect,” Quigley said. “More than 80 violations have been discovered in Virginia abortion clinics including blood-stained equipment and operating tables, improper disposal of fetal remains, staff failure to properly sanitize instruments, and even doctors performing exams with unwashed hands. Despite evidence that these common ground health and safety standards are needed, Terry McAuliffe refuses to defect from his abortion industry allies, who have vigorously fought these pro-woman efforts from the beginning.”