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Herring: 1 Year After Ultrasound Bill Became Law, Does Obenshain Still Think It Was “Common Sense?”

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From the Mark Herring for AG campaign, a great question for Republican AG nominee Mark Obenshain. Not that any of us should hold our breaths waiting for an answer, let alone an honest one, from this Tea Party extremist.

ONE YEAR SINCE ULTRASOUND BILL BECAME LAW, DOES MARK OBENSHAIN STILL BELIEVE IT WAS A “COMMON SENSE PROPOSAL”?

Monday, July 1, 2013 will mark the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the ultrasound bill pushed through the Virginia General Assembly and supported by Senator Mark Obenshain.

Obenshain voted in support of the final passage of that bill requiring women to get an ultrasound before having an abortion,[1] as well as an earlier version of the bill which required women seeking an abortion to submit to an invasive transvaginal ultrasound.[2]

At the time, Mark Obenshain said that he believed the transvaginal ultrasound legislation was a “common sense proposal.”[3]

One year later, Herring for Attorney General campaign manager Kevin O’Holleran asks: “Does Mark Obenshain still believe the bill that would force women to undergo invasive and unnecessary medical procedures is ‘common sense’ or is he trying to rewrite history on his radical right-wing record on this issue, as well?  He may try to change his story on his sponsorship of the miscarriage bill and he may try to change his characterization of and support for the ultrasound legislation, but when it comes to women’s health, his record of being way outside the mainstream speaks for itself.”

The ultrasound bill was part of Obenshain and the Conservative Caucus’ plan.

The General Assembly’s Conservative Caucus introduced their 2012 agenda which included the “personhood” bill as well as the ultrasound bill. Caucus co-chairman Sen. Mark Obenshain felt optimistic about the bill passing saying, “This year we have a newly composed Senate, much more conservative. Our likelihood of succeeding on many of the items on the agenda, upon which we’ve been frustrated in the past, looks really good.”[4]

This is a pattern for Obenshain, who has focused throughout his career on restricting women’s access to health care. Obenshain’s radical record includes:

Co-Patroning the “Personhood” Bill With Ken Cuccinelli. Obenshain has repeatedly supported “personhood” legislation that would outlaw all abortion and many common forms of birth control. [HB2797, 2007; HB1, 2012]

Voting For Mandatory Ultrasounds Before Abortions. Obenshain voted for legislation that would require all women receiving an abortion procedure to undergo a mandatory ultrasound [HB462, 2012; SB484, 2012]

Introducing A Bill That Would Require Women To Report Miscarriages To Police. “Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, made himself a lightning rod for criticism by introducing a bill that would require a woman to report her miscarriage to police within 24 hours.” [SB 962, 2009; Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 1/28/09]

Sponsoring a Bill To Outlaw Abortions After Twenty Weeks, Also Known As The Virginia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Or Fetal Pain Act. In February 2012, the Daily Press reported: “Sen. Harry Blevins, R-Chesapeake, abstained Thursday, thereby killing a measure before the Senate Education and Health Committee that would have outlawed elective abortions in Virginia after 20 weeks. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, would have made elective abortions after 20 weeks because he said there is medical evidence that a fetus can feel pain at that point in its gestation. The measure would have allowed abortions after that point if the mother’s life or health is threatened.” [Daily Press, 2/2/12; SB 637, 2012]

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[1] HB462, 2/28/12

[2] SB484, 1/30/12

[3] World Virginia, 02/08/12

[4] Daily Press, 01/18/12

[5] Daily News-Record, 11/15/2002