Home Social Issues ProgressVA Delivers 30,000+ Petition Signatures Against Mandatory Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound

ProgressVA Delivers 30,000+ Petition Signatures Against Mandatory Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound

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See Progress Virginia’s press release below. Great work, guys, now if only the Democratic establishment could figure out how to do grassroots/netroots activism.

Advocates for women’s health to deliver over 30,0000 petitions opposing personhood and mandatory ultrasound bills

Richmond, VA – A coalition of grassroots organizations supporting women’s health will deliver thousands of petitions Wednesday morning to Virginia lawmakers opposing bills that insert the government into women’s personal, private medical decisions. Virginians from across the Commonwealth have expressed their disappointment and outrage at bills including HB 1 (“personhood” bill), which defines a fertilized egg as a person and could outlaw abortion under all circumstances and restrict women’s access to birth control, and HB 462 and SB 484, which would force the vast majority of women seeking to terminate their pregnancies to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound whether or not she wants one.

Who: Grassroots organizations supporting women’s health, including ProgressVA, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, and Virginia New Majority.

What: Press conference and delivery of petitions to State Senators and Governor McDonnell. The total number of signatures will be announced at the press conference.

When: 10 am, Wednesday, February 22nd

Where: House Briefing Room, General Assembly Building

Why: Because instead of focusing on Virginians’ economic, education, and transportation priorities, conservative, anti-choice legislators are pushing an extreme agenda that seeks to restrict women’s access to safe, legal, affordable health care including birth control and criminalize reproductive health decisions. Virginians have had enough.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    Even if McDonnell does find a way to make the invasive ultrasound “optional,” the damage is already done. The question then becomes, Why all the this mess and wasted legislative time when an amended bill simply repeats what is the medical practice right now, before the Republicans spent all their time making Virginia a laughingstock.

    Without Vogel’s  bill, Virginia women now have the option to have an ultrasound. She and the other Republicans look ridiculous.

  • Dear Lowell,

    I’m in Manassas today, meeting with business leaders and members of the Prince William County Chamber of Commerce to talk about how to accelerate the growth of the American economy. I’ll be listening for ways to help businesses thrive and sharing my ideas for how I can help them as Virginia’s next Senator.

    Do you know what the General Assembly is doing today? They are poised to pass two unnecessary bills that jeopardize women’s rights and hurt Virginia’s image.

    The first — requiring a woman to have an invasive ultrasound probe before exercising her constitutional right to have an abortion — has made Virginia the butt of jokes around the nation.

    The second — defining life as beginning at conception and granting full “personhood” rights to a fertilized embryo — could criminalize some forms of contraception. The bill has been championed by Delegate Bob Marshall and endorsed by George Allen, who has even pledged to push federal “personhood” legislation if re-elected.

    But they didn’t count on you. You’ve made your voice heard, and the General Assembly is responding by delaying votes on these bills. We’ve got to keep up the pressure. Call your General Assembly members and tell them to vote NO on these attacks on women’s rights. And call Governor McDonnell and tell him to VETO the bills if they reach his desk.

    More than a thousand people gathered at the Capitol on Monday to fight back against the outrageous overreach in both of these bills. How did the General Assembly respond? By postponing votes so that the matters would only be taken up after folks, and the cameras, went home.

    Your presence is making a difference. They’ve shown their extreme intent, but your involvement has them on the ropes.

    They’re running scared, and now’s the time to stop them in their tracks. We can win this! Contact your General Assembly members today and tell them to vote NO on these attacks on women’s rights.

    I remember when Virginia was best known as the “Best State for Business” and the “Best Managed State” rather than the leader in anti-women legislation and a topic for late night comedians. We need to stop playing politics with a divisive social agenda and work together to find the solutions that will build economic prosperity and educational opportunity.

    You’ve already had an impact — don’t stop now. Contact your legislators tell them to oppose these bills.

    Tim Kaine

  • Advocates for women’s health to deliver 33,030 petitions opposing personhood and mandatory ultrasound bills to Governor McDonnell

    Richmond, VA – A coalition of grassroots organizations supporting women’s health delivered 33,030 petitions to Governor McDonnell Wednesday morning, opposing bills that insert the government into women’s personal, private medical decisions. Virginians from across the Commonwealth have expressed their disappointment and outrage at bills including HB 1 (“personhood” bill), which defines a fertilized egg as a person and could outlaw abortion under all circumstances and restrict women’s access to birth control, and HB 462 and SB 484, which would force the vast majority of women seeking to terminate their pregnancies to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound whether or not she wants one.

    ProgressVA, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, and Virginia New Majority organized the petition drive.

    At a press conference this morning to announce the petition signatures, Dr. Wendy Klein related the stories of 4 women who have been adversely affected by “personhood” bills across the country. She implored lawmakers to reject these bills and remove government from doctor-patient relationships.

    Vicki Yeroian, a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University, said “the bills before the Virginia legislature are an attack on women and women’s reproductive health care. As a new adult, a college student, and a woman I no longer feel safe in this state. No woman living in the realties of the 21st century in Virginia can feel safe.”

    Anna Scholl, Executive Director of ProgressVA, in announcing the 33,030 signatures, declared “To many people in this building, these bills are political. But to women and families across our Commonwealth, they are very personal. Our message today is clear: stop the attacks on women’s health. Stop interfering in personal, private medical decisions that should be left to a woman, her family, and her doctor. Get back to work.”

    The text of the petition reads:


    “I’m writing to express my opposition to bills before the General Assembly that insert the government into women’s private medical decisions. Please oppose HB 1, which would define a fertilized egg as a person and could outlaw abortion under all circumstances and restrict women’s access to birth control, and HB 462, which will traumatize women by forcing some to submit to an invasive, trans-vaginal ultrasound before seeking an abortion.

    “I’ve had enough of this war on women and I’m asking you to get back to work on Virginians’ priorities: investing in our economic growth, ensuring our kids get an excellent education, and repairing our crumbling transportation infrastructure. We sent you to Richmond to make life better for Virginia families, not make it more difficult for women to access comprehensive reproductive health services.”

    Virginians may continue to take action on these issues and sign the petition by visiting http://www.SignOn.org.

  • Kaine Calls on Senate Opponents, Virginia GOP to Drop Focus on Divisive Social Issues

    Kaine: “What’s happening in Richmond right now is bad for Virginia women, it’s bad for Virginia’s image, and it’s bad for Virginia’s businesses.”

    Richmond, VA – During a conference call today, Tim Kaine called on his fellow Senate candidates, Republicans in the Virginia legislature, and Governor Bob McDonnell to drop their pursuit of divisive social issues and refocus on measures that strengthen the economy and promote job creation. Earlier today, he emailed his supporters encouraging them to contact their legislators and Governor McDonnell to express their opposition to divisive social legislation like personhood and ultrasound requirements.

    Below are key quotes from today’s call:

    “What I hear from our business leaders and small business owners is that they’re tired of partisan games and distractions. They want to see leaders who will focus on results-oriented solutions to rebuild our economy. They want leaders who will focus on tomorrow’s challenges rather than just partisan rehashing of yesterday’s battles. And they want leaders who are willing to work together rather than engage in nonproductive and divisive battles that pit citizens against each other.”

    “We were known, when I was Governor, and we have been known for some period of time, as AAA bond rated, best managed state, dynamic economy, best state for business. But in this General Assembly session, unlike any in my 27 years of living in Virginia, the focus is now switched to extremely divisive social legislation.”

    “What we’re seeing in Richmond now is not what Virginians expect from their leaders. What’s happening in Richmond right now is bad for Virginia women, it’s bad for Virginia’s image, and it’s bad for Virginia’s businesses. We didn’t earn our accolades as the best state for business, best managed state, best state to raise a child, by embracing measures that become fodder for late night comedy shows and turn Virginia into a laughing stock. It’s time for us to do the right thing on this divisive social legislation.”

    “One of my opponents for the Senate race is the chief sponsor of HB1 establishing personhood legislation. I’m calling on him to do the right thing and withdraw his bill. A second opponent not only supports Virginia’s personhood legislation but has even promoted the notion that we should do similar legislation at the federal level. I’m calling on him to do the right thing and reconsider.”

    We can end the focus on the socially divisive legislation that’s eroding our good reputation, that’s putting us at a competitive disadvantage, and making us a less attractive place for businesses and workers. I want to return to Virginia being known as the best managed state and the best state for business rather than being known as the state that is carrying out an extreme and even comical campaign against women and their health care choices.”

  • Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on SB 484

    RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement today regarding SB 484, a bill before the General Assembly that would require an ultrasound prior to an abortion being performed.

    “I am pro-life. I believe deeply in the sanctity of innocent human life and believe governments have a duty to protect human life. The more our society embraces a culture of life for all people, the better country we will have. Over the course of my 20-year career in elected office, I have been glad to play a leading role in putting in place common-sense policies that protect and defend innocent human life in the Commonwealth. One of those bills was Virginia’s informed consent statute, of which I was the chief patron in the House of Delegates, finally seeing its passage in 2001. This session, the General Assembly is now considering amending this informed consent statute to include a requirement that any woman seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound in order to establish the gestational age for appropriate medical purposes, and to offer a woman the opportunity to voluntarily review that ultrasound prior to giving her legal informed consent to abortion.

    Over the past days I have discussed the specific language of the proposed legislation with other governors, physicians, attorneys, legislators, advocacy groups, and citizens. It is apparent that several amendments to the proposed legislation are needed to address various medical and legal issues which have arisen. It is clear that in the majority of cases, a routine external, transabdominal ultrasound is sufficient to meet the bills stated purpose, that is, to determine gestational age. I have come to understand that the medical practice and standard of care currently guide physicians to use other procedures to find the gestational age of the child, when abdominal ultrasounds cannot do so. Determining gestational age is essential for legal reasons, to know the trimester of the pregnancy in order to comply with the law, and for medical reasons as well.

    Thus, having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done. Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.

    For this reason, I have recommended to the General Assembly a series of amendments to this bill. I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily. I am asking the General Assembly to state in this legislation that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age. Should a doctor determine that another form of ultrasound may be necessary to provide the necessary images and information that will be an issue for the doctor and the patient. The government will have no role in that medical decision.

    I have requested other amendments that help clarify the purposes of the bill and reflect a better understanding of prevailing medical practices. It is my hope that the members of the General Assembly will act favorably upon these recommendations from our office. We will await their action prior to making any further comments on this matter.”

  • Adam Ebbin tweets: “To clarify, Sen Vogel says she is no longer happy with Vaginal Ultrasound Bill in its current form.”