Home Social Issues The Virginia Legislature Joins in the GOP’s War on Women

The Virginia Legislature Joins in the GOP’s War on Women

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The Republicans (plus two Democrats) in the Virginia Senate have decided to join in the National GOP’s war on women. Thursday, the VA Senate will vote on SB924, which just passed the House 67-32. The bill would effectively eliminate access for Virginia’s women to clinics that perform first trimester abortions by forcing such clinics to adhere to the same regulations as hospitals do. This, of course, is not necessary as such clinics are already sufficiently regulated.

If this effort seems like it’s coming out of nowhere, that’s because it is. The amendment was slipped in. According to NARAL Pro-choice Virginia:

This bill would require the Board of Health to issue regulations for hospitals, nursing homes, and certified nursing facilities. As originally written, the bill has nothing to do with abortion. Unfortunately, anti-choice Delegate Kathy Byron (R-Campbell County) offered an amendment changing the definition of hospitals to include “facilities in which five or more first trimester abortions per month are performed.” 

If you think the bill is being sent from the GOP-dominated House to the Dem-dominated Senate to die, think again. As reported in the Virginia Politics blog:

Two conservative Democrats who oppose abortion — Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William) and Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell) — said Tuesday they plan to support the measure, in a chamber where Democrats hold a 22 to 18 majority. Their votes would raise the possibility of a 20 to 20 tie. A tie would be broken by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who supports regulations

And then Governor McDonnell will be ready and waiting to sign it into law. Because he and other anti-choicers want to “ensure that all outpatient surgical centers are treated the same, in order to ensure the health and safety of our citizens.” I see, they want all outpatient surgical centers to get equal treatment. Or, maybe it’s because Virginia Republicans are such big fans of excess regulations. No, no, it’s because they want to keep women who get abortions safe. Yes, that’s it.

Puh-lease. The Virginia GOP (plus two Democrats) wants to shut down these clinics because they provide first trimester abortions, and probably because they provide contraception, too. Only, they won’t admit it.

I am squarely pro-choice, but I can understand why people are against abortion. I would guess that the vast majority of women who choose to have abortions hate abortion. But I agree with Hilary Clinton when she says that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. Ruth Marcus’s piece in response to House Republicans’ assault on family planning  applies here: When those clinics are shut down, many Virginia women will not only lose access to the contraception that prevent abortions in the first place, but to general reproductive health care. Furthermore, without access to contraception, rates of pregnancies will increase and so will unsafe abortions. I would have so much more respect for anti-abortion crusaders if they actually worked to prevent abortions from having to happen in the first place, but they don’t; they work to promote ineffective sex education programs, to limit access to contraception, to decimate women’s healthcare services, and to keep abortion unsafe, frequent, and illegal.

As my uncle always says about American politics, “You have two choices. You can have the Democrats in your wallet or the Republicans in your bedroom. I’d rather have the Democrats in my wallet.” So would I, Uncle Roger. So would I. Since Republicans are already raiding our middle and working class wallets to fund tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, I say to Virginia Senators:

Get the hell out of my bedroom and while you’re at it, stay away from my uterus.

Contact your senator now and tell them to oppose SB924.

  • In addition to snooping around your bedroom, the Republicans are ALSO ver much in your wallet, whether it’s redistributing your income to the wealthiest Americans or the most powerful corporations, voting to squander our nation’s future (and saddle the next generations with the bill) by racking up debt to pay for those tax cuts (and wars – lots of wars!), historically voting for plenty of spending and tax increases (e.g., Republican President-Saint Reagan raised taxes numerous times, and of course George HW Bush broke his “read my lips” promise), etc.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    According to the Roanoke Times, of the 21 facilities offering abortion service in Virginia, most will have to close down. There are four Planned Parenthood clinics in the state that anticipated passage of this law at some point and were built to out-patient surgical specifications, including the one in Roanoke. This law won’t end abortion. It simply forces many women to leave the state for an abortion.

    The nanny-state GOPers just can’t get over their obsession with sex and women’s reproductive organs. It’s too bad they don’t care as much about human life after birth.

  • pontoon

    ran for office touting we’ll work for jobs, jobs, jobs.  How many times did we hear their refrain:  “We are going to be all about jobs, jobs, jobs!”

    The Repubs have done nothing about jobs since they were elected, unless you believe that giving millions of dollars of tax cuts to huge corporations and billionaires is creating jobs, which we all know is a completely ineffective.  What is this onslaught that Republicans are  portraying as deficit reducing fiscal responsibility?  It is nothng but a ruse to give payback to the Koch Brothers and others who bought their elections for them.

    What Repubs have done is what they always do…launch into attacks on cultural issues which have proven to be very divisive…attempting to change the definition of abortion, cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood, etcetera,  all in the name of fiscal responsibility.

    Not only are Repubs attacking issues like abortion in this year of the Rightwing crazy, they are attacking the very institutions which have created fair pay, safe working environments, not just for those who are union members, but for every American worker today.  

    It seems to me that their goal is to create chaos…to push so many right-wing-nut ideas in so many different states and localities that we, the responsible caretakers of our society, cannot possibly battle them all.  

    Thankfully, Virginia’s Senate is held by the Democrats and they have stopped many of the outlandish ideas being pushed here, but those in states like Wisconsin and Ohio are not as lucky as we are.  

  • Va Breeze

    Definitely a different standard from other outpatient surgery centers.

    GOP-rules apply only to whoever/whatever we want them to apply to…but never us!