( – promoted by lowkell)
Last week the Virginia General Assembly backpedalled suddenly from SB 484, which had garnered national attention as the “Mandatory Vaginal Ultrasound” bill. Governor Bob McDonnell, fearing the issue was damaging his bid to be considered for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination, intervened and rewrote the bill, removing the required use of a vaginal probe.
The author of SB 484 was State Senator Jill Holtzman-Vogel, whose district includes most of western Loudoun County. In the wake of the national public outcry and Gov. McDonnell’s subsequent rewrites, Sen. Vogel moved to strike her own bill, indicating a change of heart in light of constituent reaction. She stated that after hearing from constituents, including doctors, she did not “feel in good conscience that I want to carry the bill in its current form.” “There are moments when you are a legislator when you have to stop and you have to have a moment of real conscience,” Vogel said. “I sort of had that moment this morning considering the outcome and the fate of this bill.”
Apparently, Sen. Vogel’s “moment of real conscience” was brief. In an act of hypocrisy and high-speed flip-flopping, Vogel yesterday voted to approve the House of Delegates’ version of her bill, HB 462, and her vote may have been decisive. If she had listened to her conscience and opposed the measure as she had last week, the vote would have been 20-20, and her action may have emboldened other Republicans to oppose the measure as well.
“Senator Vogel has betrayed the trust the voters placed in her when they sent her to the Senate in Richmond,” said Loudoun County Democratic Committee Chairman Evan Macbeth. “After a quite public ‘moment of conscience’ she chose to vote in favor of humiliation and shame for women across the Commonwealth who seek to exercise their legal rights. That vote is not conscience, it’s cowardice.”
To review, House bill HB 462 mandates that a woman seeking an abortion must first have an ultrasound to determine the gestation age of the fetus and she must be given the option to view the ultrasound image.
A mandatory ultrasound would impose additional costs and delays on a woman seeking access to a legal and Constitutionally protected medical procedure she has already agonized over. Indeed, a purpose of such requirements is to reduce access to legal abortions by making them humiliating, expensive procedures. Ultrasounds usually cost between $200 and $1200, and these state-mandated ultrasounds may not be covered by insurance because they are not medically necessary.
No other medical diagnostic test is mandated by the code of Virginia, revealing the true intent of the bill: to shame and discourage women from receiving safe, legal and often medically necessary abortion services.