Why Cooch Watch?

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

In February of 2011, Republicans slapped an unrelated amendment onto a bill addressing infection control in hospitals and nursing homes. The amendment mandated all abortion clinics be regulated as hospitals. The plan to deceptively add the amendment at the last possible moment was executed in a way that insured the legislation would not be properly debated, or potentially killed in committee.

It might seem that regulating abortion clinics like a hospital is a good thing. However, this is extremely misleading. First trimester abortions are similar to, or safer than, other outpatient procedures such as colonoscopies, vision correction surgery, cosmetic surgery and dental surgery. However, the doctors’ offices performing these types of procedures are NOT included in the legislation. This is why these measures are know as TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers).

An advisory board was assembled to make recommendations for “emergency regulations” until permanent regulations could be developed. This panel included top doctors from UVA and VCU’s medical schools. However, what the health department released was different and more stringent than what the advisory panel recommended. Mr. Cuccinneli’s office eliminated a provision, which would allow existing clinics to continue safely providing abortions in their current structures without having to adhere to unnecessary and extremely costly structural requirements, also known as a “grandfather clause.” We now know through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that this section was simply torn out and discarded by the attorney general.

On June 15, 2012 the Board of Health passed permanent regulations for abortion facilities, which INCLUDED a grandfather clause for existing clinics. Historically, the process of certification only takes one to two days. However, in this case the attorney general waited 31 days, and then REFUSED to certify them.

The regulations were then sent back to the Board of Health for a re-vote on Friday, September 14th. Cooch Watch, Oppose Trap, and other grassroots organizers worked to get hundreds of people at the meeting to show their support of the grandfather clause that was previously added and then struck from the regulations. Unfortunately, a threat issued from The Cooch a couple days prior to the vote overpowered our efforts. He told the Board that he would not represent them if legal issues arose from the Regulations if they chose to re-add the grandfather clause that would protect existing abortion providers. The Cooch was a bully and all but two members of the Board of Health decided to exclude the clause from the regulations because of his threat. The vote that once supported the grandfather clause 7-4, then stood at opposing it 13-2.


Now, The Cooch is running for Governor of Virginia and it is our time to stop him. With your help, we can defeat The Cooch.

If The Cooch becomes Governor, the rights of women, people of color, low income households, and the LGBTQ community are doomed. Here are some things you should know about The Cooch:

  • He filed a lawsuit against the Affordable Healthcare Act, which provides free contraceptive services.
  • He is anti-choice.
  • He wants to shut down abortion providers and “make abortion disappear in America”.
  • He supported McDonnell’s order to deny legal protection in the workplace based on sexual orientation.
  • He believes “homosexuality is wrong.”
  • He attempted to prohibit gender identity and sexual orientation as a protected class in anti-discrimination poiies in colleges and universities in the Commonwealth.