From the Mark Herring for AG campaign:
“Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain will make women's health care more expensive today. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli bullied the Board of Health into bending to his political will, and as a result women throughout Virginia will suffer the consequences. Virginia women will now find essential health care they rely on, like cancer screenings and prenatal care, harder to access and more expensive.”
The targeted regulations of women's health care clinics, known as the TRAP regulations, officially go into effect today in Virginia.
“Mark Obenshain is a supporter of these regulations, even though they are medically unnecessary and punish women for wanting to make their own health care decisions,” Herring said. “That’s the Cuccinelli-Obenshain record: fighting to restrict women’s access to contraception and to end a woman’s right to choose.
“Today is a stark reminder of why Virginia needs an Attorney General who puts the law, not extreme ideology, first. Virginia needs an Attorney General who believes that women’s health care decisions are personal, not political and who trusts women to make those decisions without interference from politicians in Richmond. That’s the kind of Attorney General I’ll be.”
Mark Obenshain, In 2011, Voted For A Bill “That Would Force Abortion Clinics To Meet The Same Regulatory And Architectural Requirements As Outpatient Surgical Centers – A Long Sought Goal Of Abortion Opponents…” Mark Obenshain, on February 24, 2011, voted for SB 924, a bill “that would force abortion clinics to meet the same regulatory and architectural requirements as outpatient surgical centers – a long sought goal of abortion opponents that abortion rights advocates say could close 17 of the state's 21 outpatient clinics. Democrats hold a 22-18 edge in the Senate, but two Democrats oppose abortion and voted for the bill. The 20-20 tie sent the decision to Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who voted in favor of the bill. … Senate Republicans said that the rules are within Virginia's constitutional authority and are needed to ensure that abortions are safe. Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, said the proposal is ‘clearly constitutional.’” (SB924, Vote on 02/24/11 and Daily Press, 02/25/11)
Mark Obenshain “Distributed Copies Of An Attorney General's Opinion Issued” By Ken Cuccinelli “That Said Virginia Had The Authority To Regulate Abortion Clinics To The Same Standards As Hospitals And Outpatient Surgical Centers.”“Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, distributed copies of an attorney general's opinion issued by Cuccinelli in August that said Virginia had the authority to regulate abortion clinics to the same standards as hospitals and outpatient surgical centers. Obenshain said he was handing out the copies ‘so that we can get on with voting on this clearly controversial, but clearly constitutional, issue.’ ‘The federal courts have spoken repeatedly and clearly on this issue,’ Obenshain said. ‘There is no constitutional question, and simply standing up and saying there is don't make it so.’ Obenshain said a South Carolina law that dealt with abortion-clinic regulations was upheld by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2000, and that case established the constitutionality of regulating the clinics. Obenshain also said regulations that the state Board of Health will write, based on SB924, will be the key factor in constitutional challenges of the legislation.” (News & Advance, 02/25/11)
Mark Obenshain Said Approval Of SB 924 Was “An Unexpected Victory.” In an e-mail, Mark Obenshain said, “ an unexpected victory when the Senate narrowly approved higher health and safety standards for abortion clinics. And I do mean close: in his capacity as President of the Senate, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling had to break the 20-20 tie on the House amendments to SB 924, which established the new standards.” Obenshain added, “I'm pro-life, and unabashedly so, but frankly, this bill isn't about abortion, at least not fundamentally.” (Virginia State Senate Republican Caucus, Mark Obenshain E-Mail, 02/26/11)
In 2011 The General Assembly Voted To Regulate Abortion Clinics In The Same Way As Outpatient Surgical Clinics And Hospitals, Requiring The Board To Adopt Regulations – Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli Insisted On Keeping The Regulations In Place After The State Board Of Health Initially Voted To Exempt Existing Clinics From The New Regulations. In April 2013, the Daily News reported, “The state Board of Health gave final approval to regulations for abortion clinics that opponents of the measure say could cause providers to close their doors. The Targeted Regulations for Abortion Providers (TRAP) passed by the board require abortion clinics that provide five or more first-term abortions a year to meet the same architectural building standards as new hospitals. The board's 11-2 vote in favor of the regulations came amid controversy that led board member James Edmondson to say that what he considered an ‘apolitical body’ had become politicized. In 2011 the General Assembly voted to regulate abortion clinics in the same way as outpatient surgical clinics and hospitals, requiring the board to adopt regulations. In June the board voted to exempt existing clinics from the new regulations because many of them would not be able to absorb the costs of widening hallways, adding storage space and building awnings over the front of their buildings. Grandfathering in existing clinics and hospitals when new regulations are developed is standard practice in Virginia. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli – a staunch opponent to abortion – refused to sign off on the regulations unless the exemption was removed.” (Daily Press, 04/13/13)
· Ken Cuccinelli “Sent A Letter To Board Members Stating The Attorney General's Office Would Not Represent Them Should Legal Action Arise Out Of Their Decision.” Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli “sent a letter to board members stating the attorney general's office would not represent them should legal action arise out of their decision. Cuccinelli's actions led board chairwoman Dr. Karen Remly to resign her position, and the board subsequently removed the exemption. Opponents of the regulations have accused Cuccinelli of bullying the board to further his own political objectives. At Friday's meeting they tried to convince the board that it was within its rights to include the exemption for existing clinics. Edmondson and board member Dr. H. Anna Jeng, who both voted ‘no’ on the regulations, attempted to reintroduce the exemption to no avail. They also argued that the regulations would hurt the clinics as small businesses and asked the board to put off its decision until ‘reasonable alternatives’ for existing clinics could be found.” (Daily Press, 04/13/13)
Mark Obenshain's Radical Record On Women's Health Care:
- Obenshain Co-Patroned “Personhood” Bill With Cuccinelli. Obenshain has repeatedly supported “personhood” legislation that would outlaw all abortion and many common forms of birth control. [HB2797, 2007; HB1, 2/23/12]
- Obenshain Voted For Mandatory Ultrasounds Before Abortions. Obenshain voted for legislation that would require all women receiving an abortion procedure to undergo a mandatory ultrasound [HB462, 2/28/12]
- Obenshain Introduced A Bill That Would Require Women To Report Miscarriages To Police. “Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, made himself a lightning rod for criticism by introducing a bill that would require a woman to report her miscarriage to police with 24 hours.” [SB 962, 2009; Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 1/28/09]
- Obenshain Sponsored Bill To Outlaw Abortions After Twenty Weeks, Also Known As The Virginia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Or Fetal Pain Act. In February 2012, the Daily Press reported: “Sen. Harry Blevins, R-Chesapeake, abstained 2/2/12; SB 637], thereby killing a measure before the Senate Education and Health Committee that would have outlawed elective abortions in Virginia after 20 weeks. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, would have made elective abortions after 20 weeks because he said there is medical evidence that a fetus can feel pain at that point in its gestation. The measure would have allowed abortions after that point if the mother's life or health is threatened.” [Daily Press,
- JMU Board Of Visitors Member Obenshain Supported JMU’s Decision To Stop Providing Emergency Contraception To Students, Said That “We Don’t Provide A Full Range Of Abortion Services” In April 2003, the AP reported: “In response to a complaint from a state legislator, James Madison University will stop providing “morning after” birth-control pills at its campus health center. The state-supported college's board of visitors voted to stop dispensing the emergency contraception pill after receiving a letter from Del. Robert Marshall, R-Manassas, criticizing the practice. Board member Mark Obenshain, who is running for the state Senate in the 26th District, characterized the pill as a type of abortion. ‘We don't provide a full range of abortion services,’ he said. He said students who want the pill can still get it from off-campus sources.” [AP, 4/19/03]