Cooch Watch!

By Laura Kacere

In a satirical response to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s extreme anti-abortion views and strong support for the outrageous restrictions on clinics called Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP laws, a group of Virginia feminists created a campaign called Cooch Watch.

Here’s their description:

The Cooch has been keeping an eye on your vagina, so now we’re going to keep an eye on him…

Ken Cuccinelli is trying to shut down clinics in the Commonwealth of Virginia and he’s running for Governor in 2013. We’re here to stop him and his anti-choice agenda.

In case you haven’t been following the story of Cuccinelli and the TRAP laws, here’s the backstory:

Image courtesty of Flickr Creative Commons User Gage Skidmore

Last year, the Virginia legislature passed a bill that would classify clinics that provide abortions as “hospitals” rather than doctor’s offices, a law modeled after one that Cuccinelli tried and failed to pass when he was a member of the legislature. The bill would require all abortion clinics to meet building codes required of hospitals, which includes things like requiring a parking space for every bed (even though abortions do not require overnight stay) and widened hallways and ceilings to accommodate the size of a gurney (even though these are not used in abortion procedures).

Seeing as these requirements will not be applied to other clinics that perform much riskier procedures (why aren’t they trying to regulate plastic surgery?), the Cooch and VA Governor Bob McDonnell (otherwise known as Governor Vaginal Probe) are clearly targeting abortion, a generally safe and quick procedure.  Cuccinelli made sure to include a requirement that all existing clinics meet these standards as well. Most abortion clinics in the state have said that they would not be able to afford these building changes, and would have to close their doors.  This was the Cooch’s goal all along – to shut down clinics, effectively making abortion access nearly impossible for the majority of Virginian women.

But in June, the Virginia Board of Health voted 7-4 to include a grandfather clause, meaning all existing clinics would be exempt from the new rules.  Soon after, the Cooch announced that he would not certify the exemption, and in a letter to the Board told them they had exceeded his authority in making that decision.  Now the Cooch is on a mission –

On September 14th, the Virginia Board of Health will have a third hearing on the TRAP laws in which Cuccinelli will attempt to reject the grandfather clause to shut down existing clinics.  Cooch Watch is calling for a massive gathering of people (“The People vs. the Cooch“) to attend the hearing to show the Cooch and others who support this law that we will not stand for this.

But even if you can’t make it to Virginia next Friday, watch the hilarious videos, show your support, and spread the word!

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