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Each candidate also says that the other’s comments distort their stances on the matter.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
RICHMOND — In the Virginia governor’s race, the perennial hot-button issue of abortion keeps creeping into the dialogue.
Each candidate portrays the other as an extremist, although on opposite ends of the spectrum, on an issue that could have an impact in a state where 54 percent of the approximately 4.8 million voters are women. Polls have shown Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a wide lead over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli among female voters.
Cuccinelli opposes abortion except when the mother’s life is in danger — a position McAuliffe called “very extreme” because it would not allow abortion in cases of rape, incest or to protect the mother’s health.
The Republican claims McAuliffe favors taxpayer-funded abortion even in the third trimester. That makes McAuliffe “the only candidate with an extreme position on life,” according to Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix.
McAuliffe calls his opponent’s claim about his position false and said he would leave abortion laws intact. Virginia law currently prohibits third-trimester abortions, and public funding is available for abortion only in cases of rape, incest, fetal impairment or life endangerment.
The Democrat does favor repealing a 2012 law requiring ultrasounds for women seeking abortion and finding a way to circumvent new state Board of Health regulations requiring all Virginia abortion clinics to meet the same strict building standards as newly constructed hospitals. The board initially exempted established clinics from the building standards but reversed itself after Cuccinelli told members they exceeded their authority and threatened not to represent them in court if anyone sued.
Other laws require “informed consent,” a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion, and parental consent for minors.
The General Assembly has rejected several other abortion-related measures in recent years, including a 2007 personhood bill that the McAuliffe camp cited as proof that Cuccinelli wants a broader ban on abortion.
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