Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli likened his fight against birth control coverage without copays to the civil rights struggles led by Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday.

On a conservative radio show, Cuccinelli claimed that his campaign against birth control was actually a fight to defend religious liberty comparable to the fight by Martin Luther King, Jr. He told listeners “All they talk about -they don’t talk about denying religious liberty. They talk about contraception. And I’m not talking about contraception. Government doesn’t have a role in contraception. … Government does have a role in protecting your civil rights especially today on MLK Day. The man who really came up with the American non-violent protest theory of civil disobedience. It’s pretty egregious that they can’t get any higher than contraception when we’re talking about protecting people’s religious liberty.”

In a statement released by the Virginia Democratic Party, former Delegate Ferguson Reid condemnedCuccinelli’s remarks “It is disappointing that Attorney General Cuccinelli would equate his opposition to birth control coverage with the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the men and women who marched and fought so that all Americans could have equal rights.”

Cuccinelli has been in the spotlight on reproductive health issues before. Last year, Cuccinelli came under firefor his efforts to establish one of the strictest TRAP (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) laws in the country, which requires that abortion clinics in Virginia meet the same building regulations as new hospitals.

Media Resources: TPM 1/23/20113; Feminist Newswire 9/14/2012

Birth control pills close up from Shutterstock