Cuccinelli & VA Family Foundation Drop Out of Anti-Choice Rally Targeting Gov. McDonell

Anti-choice activists are hosting a rally outside the Virginia capitol on Thursday at which VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and representatives of the Virginia Family Foundation were scheduled to participate … that is until they found out the rally was designed to pressure Gov. Bob McDonnell to place tighter restrictions on women’s clinics.

Upon learning that, Cuccinelli and the VA Family Foundation dropped out:

Both Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and the conservative Family Foundation declined to participate in an anti-abortion rally scheduled for Thursday outside the Capitol to avoid “confronting” McDonnell after they found out that organizers designed the event to pressure the governor.

Both Cuccinelli (R) and Family Foundation Chaplain Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr. had been scheduled to attend the rally, which will take place on the second day of the General Assembly’s annual session.

“While Attorney General Cuccinelli is a long-time pro-life leader and is very supportive of the people redressing their grievances with their elected officials at a rally like this, he does not support calling on his client — the governor — to circumvent the normal public regulatory process, even for the most laudable of goals,” Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein said. “While this may be a favored approach to getting a more immediate resolution to the abortion clinic issue, the expanded use of this power — generally reserved for emergency situations — would set a bad precedent, allowing future governors to abuse such a power.”

Del. Bob Marshall, who is speaking at the rally, describes the Family Foundation’s absence as “odd” and “inconsistent” and wonders whether it has to do with the group’s president’s husband employment with McDonnell. Several conservative activists also e-mailed Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb accusing her of remaining “silent” because of her desire to not “confront” the governor, according to e-mails provided to The Post.

Several organizations, including the American Freedom Project and Hampton Roads for Life, have organized a petition drive to encourage McDonnell to act.

“Governor Bob McDonnell is reluctant to give the directive to the state Board of Health to move forward in promulgating these regulations,” said Mike Prunty of the American Freedom Project. “This is somewhat puzzling to some because he built his political career as a ‘pro-life candidate.’ ”


The rally at the bell tower begins at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Other speakers include Keith Fournier, deacon of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond and founder of the Catholic Way; David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life, a Christian pro-life organization; Shawn Carney, co-founder of 40 days for Life; John Seeds, a Richmond doctor; Andrea Pearson of Silent No More; Rita Dunaway, assistant director of the Valley Family Forum; Tom Glessner, founder and president of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates; and Karen Zbinden of Concerned Women for America.

Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, will speak by audio hook-up. Maddy Curtis, a 16-year-old “American Idol” contestant from Virginia, will sing the national anthem.