Home Virginia Politics GOP Response to Virginia Women’s Wishes: Call Out SWAT Team; Pass Ultrasound...

GOP Response to Virginia Women’s Wishes: Call Out SWAT Team; Pass Ultrasound Bill Anyway


As if Del. Dave “No Sex Tonight” Albo’s little “comedy” routine” the other day wan’t revealing enough about Virginia Republican attitudes towards women’s health, well being, reproductive freedom, etc., how about the following two items?

First, as I noted in this morning’s news headlines, The Richmonder reports  on Bob McDonnell’s over-the-top reaction to last night’s “‘TAKE BACK THE RIGHT: Candlelight Vigil & Speak Out for Women’ at Virginia’s Capitol Square near the Governor’s Mansion.” That’s right, McDonnell called out “a fully armed and armored SWAT team member,” who JC Wilmore photographed “concealed in the bushes, perhaps 30 feet from the peaceful protestors.” As JC puts it, this was “a massive over-reaction by Capitol Police and a really disturbing attempt by the McDonnell administration to use the State Police SWAT team to intimidate peaceful protesters through the display of overwhelming force.”

Then, a bit earlier today, Virginia Republican legislators demonstrated equal contempt for Virginia women, passing “HB 462, which would mandate women seeking an abortion to submit to a medically unnecessary ultrasound and waiting period, inappropriately inserting partisan political agendas into the doctor-patient relationship.” See the Progress Virginia statement on the “flip” for more on that one.

In sum, Virginia Republicans’ attitude towards women in this state is this: we know best for you, so go home and keep your mouths shut. Fortunately, Virginia women won’t listen to them. Also fortunately, Virginia women VOTE, and presumably will make their displeasure known starting this November, and continuing through November 2013 (when we take back the governor’s mansion) and beyond. Nice job, Republicans!

ProgressVA Statement on Senate Passage of HB 462

This afternoon, the Senate of Virginia voted to approve HB 462, which would mandate women seeking an abortion to submit to a medically unnecessary ultrasound and waiting period, inappropriately inserting partisan political agendas into the doctor-patient relationship.  

“We’re frankly aghast that conservatives in the State Senate have chosen to ignore the tens thousands of Virginians who stood up and spoke up to voice their opposition to these bills that substitute politicians judgment for that of a doctor,” said Anna Scholl, Executive Director of ProgressVA. “Over 33,000 Virginians told Governor McDonnell and the legislature that politicians should not play doctor and seek to shame women with medically unnecessary procedures and waiting periods.

It’s time for Governor McDonnell to put the desires and best interests of Virginians ahead of his national political aspirations and veto this bill.”


    Richmond – Despite wisely tabling the controversial “personhood” bill last week, Senate Republicans nonetheless continued the General Assembly’s session-long fixation on divisive social issues and restricting women’s health by passing HB462 this afternoon on a 21 to 19 vote. The bill, sponsored in the House by Del. Kathy Byron (R-Bedford), originally required women to undergo a physically intrusive transvaginal ultrasound but was amended after national public outcry.  It now goes back to the House for final approval.

    “This is a significant blow for Virginia women, who have a constitutional right to control their own bodies and their own reproductive decisions,” said Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria). “I am deeply saddened that Republicans in Richmond did not listen to the tens of thousands of concerned voices across the Commonwealth who wanted government out of their bedrooms and physician’s offices. Massive protests and national media attention apparently still preclude the Virginia GOP from doing what is right.”

    “In passing this legislation, the majority party has refused to acknowledge what I and others on the House floor have been saying for weeks:  Forcing women to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure of any kind is simply unacceptable,” remarked Del. Kaye Kory (D-Fairfax).  “It is shameful that our clear and loud voices were ignored.”

    “It is unfortunate that the majority voting in favor of this intrusive legislation did not listen to growing public opinion,” said Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax).  “Instead of what some may call informed consent, this is a case of meddling that will only serve to demean women and subject them to a costly and possibly useless and unnecessary medical procedure.  The government should not interfere with medical decisions that should only be made between a woman, her family, and her doctor.”

    “House Republicans are for big government in the bedroom, but no government in the board room,” remarked Del. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax). “The hypocrisy is stunning.”

    Gov. McDonnell has indicated support for the ultrasound bills, and directed the drafting of the accepted amendments. The Senate companion bill was stricken by its sponsor, Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier), from the calendar Friday on a 31-2 vote.

  • Ingrid
  • southernvadem

    So Let me make sure I got this right

    Senate just passed a bill requiring a ultrasound at the  womens expense which will show nothing.

    Should we all call the governors office and congratulate him on a JOBS bill?  

  • Despite National Ridicule, Republicans Vote to Mandate Ultrasounds

    Republicans continue to focus like a laser on their divisive social agenda

    The Republicans continue their relentless assault on women’s rights. Despite weeks of national ridicule, Republican Senators just cannot let go of their divisive social agenda that is taking Virginia backwards. Today, Senate Republicans voted for HB 462, which legislates mandates an unnecessary ultrasound before abortion – at great cost to most women, whose insurance is unlikely to cover an unnecessary procedure.

    Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) said, “Before this bill was amended, there were those who talked about it as ‘state rape.’ And Republicans voted for it. The amended bill goes from state rape to state assault. And Republicans have now voted for state assault on women.”

    “I’ve been here for 21 years, and I’ve seen lots of bills, and I don’t get angry often. But I’m angry now, because this bill is demeaning to women. I’m angry because it implies that women are not smart enough to realize what an abortion means. I’m angry because of the attitude it shows toward doctors. There is a presumption in this legislation that doctors are not smart enough to make the right decisions,” said Senator Howell.

    Senator George Barker (D-Fairfax) said, “Over 98% of abortions in Virginia take place in the first trimester. Most of these abortions are medical abortions, not surgical. It is not logical, it is frankly absurd to require an additional procedure that has no medical utility.”

    Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said, “This is just a senseless procedure to, I guess, make some people feel good and put up an obstacle to women seeking an abortion. Because almost all abortions in Virginia are done in the first trimester, the ultrasound will show nothing. This bill just doesn’t do anything, and will be traumatic for some young women.”

    Senator Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk), “This bill tells a woman to have a diagnostic procedure, maybe against her will. As a doctor, I consider that unethical. This bill tells me, and my medical colleagues how to practice medicine. I had ten years of training to practice medicine. We do not need non-physician legislators dictating how to practice medicine.”

    “This bill tells doctors to do a totally unnecessary test – early in a pregnancy, I might as well use the ultrasound on this bottle of Gatorade, for all I’ll see. This bill is an assault on women’s health care, it is a tremendous insult to physicians,” Senator Northam added.

    Republicans Force Women to Pay for an Unnecessary Procedure

    Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) offered a series of amendments to SB 462, which were designed to soften the mean-spirited burden the bill places on women.

    Senator Howell’s fourth amendment would allow a doctor to waive the ultrasound requirement “if he believes that the ultrasound is medically unnecessary.” This amendment speaks directly to the greatest flaw of SB 462, because the bill supplants the judgment of physicians with the wisdom of politicians. This amendment failed on a vote of 19 to 21.

    Senator Howell’s next amendment would have “mandated that insurance companies cover the cost of the procedure.”

    “We have never, ever, in my 21 years, mandated a medical procedure without ensuring that the procedure will be covered,” said Senator Saslaw.

    “These ultrasounds can cost over $1,200, and the fact that lawmakers would consider mandating a medical procedure and then refuse mandating that the insurance company pay for it is insulting,” said Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington).

    The amendment failed on a vote of 19 to 21.

    Additional Amendments

    Senator Howell’s first amendment was designed to protect women from coercion by altering the ultrasound requirement in the bill to “exclusively optional,” and that “no physician can coerce a woman to have this ultrasound.” This amendment failed on a vote of 19 to 21.

    Senator Howell’s second amendment would “limit who will be subjected to the ultrasound with or without their consent. If the woman is the victim of rape or incest she would not be forced to undergo this traumatizing procedure.” This amendment, with substantial Republican support, passed on a voice vote.

    Senator Howell’s third amendment would exempt a woman from the ultrasound requirement if her fetus has a genetic or chromosomal anomaly, which would likely lead to a severe deformity or disability. This amendment failed on a vote of 19 to 21.


    Richmond, VA – Following today’s vote in the Virginia Senate mandating that women undergo an ultrasound prior to seeking an abortion, former Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine released this statement:

    “Today, state legislators green-lighted an expensive and unnecessary health mandate over the wishes of Virginia women. The ultrasound bill is patronizing and contrary to Virginians’ desire for liberty.”

    “I hope that Governor McDonnell will veto this measure, and I strongly encourage all of my opponents in the Virginia senate race to speak out against this government overreach.  Legislating women’s health care decisions won’t make our economy stronger, won’t help our businesses hire, and it certainly won’t bolster Virginia’s good reputation as a well-managed, business-friendly state.  Instead of focusing on divisive social issues, we must keep our focus on the challenges we face like improving job creation in our economy, tackling our budget deficit, and finding common ground on the issues that will improve the lives of all Virginians.”