Senate Democrats Mock Bob McDonnell’s “Absurd Cop-Out” on Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound Monstrosity

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    From the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus, lots of mockery and scorn for Bob McDonnell’s desperate “attempt to escape national ridicule,” while he “continues to mandate transabdominal ultrasounds for all women.” In sum, Bob McDonnell proves that he’s a Pat Robertson theocrat playing the role of a pathetic, craven, slippery politician who will do and say anything to get on the national Republican’t ticket. In other words, it’s the worst of all worlds — the guy doesn’t have the courage of his convictions, when it comes down to it, yet he’s still a right wingnut to the core, not to mention a raging hypocrite (it’s not ok to mandate that people purchase health insurance, even though that’s exactly what Romneycare does, but it IS ok to mandate that doctors perform an unnecessary medical procedure on women?!?). What a magnificent combination!

    Feeling the heat, McDonnell Backs Down After National Ridicule

    But the Governor still can’t let go of his abortion obsession – mandates transabdominal ultrasound

    In an attempt to escape national ridicule – but still please his ultraconservative Republican base – Governor Bob McDonnell continues to mandate transabdominal ultrasounds for all women.

    While we are relieved that Gov. McDonnell and Republican legislators have woken up to the reality that SB 484, sponsored by Senator Jill Vogel, mandates an intrusive violation of a woman’s body, we have news for our Republican friends:

    Mandated still means mandated.

    Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said, “Ultrasounds are already a tool doctors can use during medical procedures, including abortion. If Republicans really want to ensure that ultrasounds are optional, all they have to do is stop playing doctor and drop the House bill as well.”

    “Instead, Governor McDonnell has proposed specifically mandating a transabdominal ultrasound – even though such ultrasounds are unreliable early in pregnancy. Women and doctors should be able to make decisions without madates from the government.” added Senator Saslaw.

    Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) said, “Governor McDonnell’s suggestions represent an absurd cop-out. He still wants to force women to undergo a medical procedure. He still wants to put government in between a woman and her doctor. He still wants to replace a physician’s wisdom with the judgment of politicians.”

    “That some legislators would consider voting for such a measure is a sign of how desperate they are to save face,” added Senator McEachin.

    “When your legislative agenda hits the late night comedy circuit, you know you’re in deep trouble. In the end, it’s not surprising that Governor McDonnell has caved in the face of mounting pressure. This bill still goes too far,” said Senator Saslaw.

    • HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS DENOUNCES PASSAGE OF CONTROVERSIAL ULTRASOUND BILL

      Richmond – By a vote of 65 to 32 virtually along party lines, the House of Delegates passed an amended SB484 this afternoon. The measure, which has been the subject of national media attention, a silent protest at the state capitol with over a thousand demonstrators, and ridicule from late-night talk show hosts for more than a week, asks women to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure prior to terminating a pregnancy for any reason.  Republicans also defeated a motion to refer the bill back to the Courts of Justice Committee for more study by a vote of 33 to 67.  Gov. Bob McDonnell has indicated he will sign the measure into law.

      “House Republicans have heard the outcry across the Commonwealth and nation, and did not listen,” said Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), who spoke on the House floor several times against the measure.  “These amendments were rushed through on the floor with very little debate or consideration.  The so-called ‘fixes’ make it no less egregious or intrusive.”

      Last week the House of Delegates passed HB462, a companion bill to SB484, by a vote of 63-36. That measure included the physically intrusive transvaginal ultrasound as one of the procedures required for doctors to perform before terminating a pregnancy. The amended bill passed today changes the transvaginal process from mandatory to optional.

      “Events here in Richmond are unfolding as predicted,” said Democratic Caucus Chair Mark Sickles (D-Franconia).  “Unfortunately, the entire nation is now looking in and learning each day about our misplaced priorities. This most personal government intervention was not asked for, is unnecessary, and should be vetoed when it reaches Gov. McDonnell’s desk.”

      The Republican-led House of Delegates passed other divisive social-issue legislation as well today, including SB323, repealing Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law, and SB349, which allows state-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against gay families.

    • Clemgo3165

      So now women can apparently be trusted to decide, with their doctor’s help, whether or not to have a transvaginal ultrasound.  But they STILL can’t be trusted to make the decision on whether or not to have an ultrasound period.

    • Republican-led House Passes SB 484 Mandating an Ultrasound Prior to an Abortion

      Richmond – Today, the Republican-led House passed SB 484 that mandates an ultrasound prior to an abortion. Governor Bob McDonnell and House Republicans attempted to improve the bill in light of overwhelming opposition from Virginians.

      “I don’t think Republicans heard the message. The government has no place mandating unnecessary medical procedures.”

      “I am sick and tired of these assaults on women. Republicans think they can moderate an invasive and forced procedure on women that is medically unnecessary. It is an outrage.”

    • pontoon

      don’t ya’ know that women just don’t have enough brains for ourselves to decide what our medical needs might be.  These people are such jokes!

    • Virginia has been making national headlines, but for all the wrong reasons. Our proud Commonwealth has become the butt of national jokes thanks to the infamous SB 484, otherwise known as the “Mandatory Vaginal Ultrasound” bill. The controversy has Virginia Republicans backpedalling furiously and caused Governor Bob McDonnell to cave to the intense pressure of public opinion as it became increasingly clear the issue was damaging his bid to be considered for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination.

      SB 484’s author is none other than Loudoun County State Senator Jill Holtzman-Vogel. In an effort to save face with her constituents and citizens of the Commonwealth, and to keep her own future aspirations for higher office alive, Senator Vogel stated on the Senate floor today that she would strike her own bill in light of Governor McDonnell’s proposed amendments to her original legislation.

      Governor McDonnell’s substitute bill continues to require unnecessary medical costs to be incurred by women seeking a legal and often medically necessary procedure. Senator Vogel pled ignorance today on the Senate floor as to what was in her own bill and essentially admitted to not giving the legislation much thought when she agreed to sponsor it. Senator Vogel has been forced to repudiate her own handiwork in the face of intense public scrutiny.

      “Senator Vogel needs to ask herself who she was elected to represent,” said Loudoun County Democratic Committee Chair Evan Macbeth. “She needs to stop carrying the water of the most socially regressive members of the Republican party and start standing up for the mothers, sisters and daughters of her District. Her sponsorship of SB 484, which was so tasteless that it offended the sensibilities of the entire nation, demonstrates blatant disregard for Virginians and their values.”

      “Loudoun voters have a long memory,” Macbeth continued, “I have no doubt that voters of the 27th District will remember this day when the time comes to reconsider their representation in Richmond.”

    • Paba

      Seems that we’ve lost sight of this monstrosity in the wake of the good news. Is anyone trying to find out about where it’s heading in the Senate?

    • aznew

      If anyone has been following the debate over at Bearing Drift, McDonnell’s statement leaves the bill’s defenders out to dry.

      First, they tried to argue that since the woman had consented to the abortion, she implicitly contented to any physical violation the perverts in the General Assembly thought should be inflicted on her as a consequence of her decision.

      This argument proved too extreme even for most of them — and that’s saying a lot. Eventually, the Bearing Boys (as one commenter over there derisively and hilariously referred to them) settled on a defense that argued the bill was no big deal; since some ultrasound was necessary for an abortion anyway, this bill, in reality, imposed no requirement of any specific medical procedure on any party.

      McDonnell’s statement call bulls**t on that argument. Specifically, McDonnell clearly states that the bill had, indeed, mandated an additional invasive procedure. From the Governor’s statement:

      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.

      I haven’t yet looked at the amended bill, but from what I hear it is not much better than what we had as a matter of Constitutional law, morality, ethics, medicine, privacy or just plain decency. Rather, it simply tries to eliminate the specific offensive provisions that have brought scorn and ridicule to McDonnell and Virginia, and interfered with the Governor’s plans for higher office. Apparently, it also tries (from what I have heard) to placate Virginia’s Conservatives by adding a lot of additional requirements designed to increase the hassle of the ordeal of an abortion.

      Still, if I were one of this bill’s defenders, I’d be pissed at McDonnell. Not for the end result — it has been apparent for several days that the Governor needed to wiggle out of this, somehow — but rather for the fact that McDonnell completely undercut the substantive basis for the defense that has been waged for several days now.