Herewith is a short recap of the recent vaginal politics in the Virginia General Assembly:
1. A bill is introduced in the Virginia Senate that requires women seeking abortions to get sonograms before the abortion.The bill also requires those sonograms gather specific data about fetal size and heartbeat, although it does not mention the term “trans-vaginal.”
2. The mandate, billed as a “women’s health” measure, applies ONLY to the minority of women seeking to terminate pregnancies. It does not apply at all to the large majority of pregnant women who intend to give birth. That’s how you can tell the whole “women’s health” argument is a farce — it doesn’t apply to to most pregnant women.
3. Health professionals note that the vast majority of abortions in Virginia occur in the first trimester. The only way kind of a sonogram can gather the data required by the bill that early in a pregnancy is to insert a wand into the pregnant woman’s vagina. This is called a “trans-vaginal” sonogram. This point is not even debatable.
4. Gov. Bob McDonnell says he’ll that he’ll sign the bill if it make it to his desk.
5. Opponents of the bill seize on the vaginal probe aspect. The mildest critics call it “invasive.” The harshest liken it to rape. A few note the similarity to Virginia laws against “object sexual penetration,” a felony that carries a prison terms of 5 years to life.
6. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Winchester) , passes the Senate 21-18, with most (but not all) Republicans voting for it and most (but not all) Democrats voting against it.
7. Abortion opponents in Richmond grow giddy with delight, because the Senate is where similar legislation has died in recent years.
8. The hue and cry over the vagina politics grows. It’s national news that Virginia is about to require this invasive procedure for women who do not want it. Abortions rights supporters demonstrate outside the Capitol in Richmond. Saturday Night Live makes fun of it.
9. The governor, who is hoping for the vice-presidential slot on GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney’s ticket, gets cold feet. The administration lets the Senate and House know that he wants nothing to do with sticking things into unwilling women’s vaginas.
10. Bowing to McDonnell’s concerns, the House amends the Senate bill. Now the only required procedure is a sonogram with a wand touching a woman’s stomach. But if that doesn’t produce good data, the woman has the “option” of having the a transvaginal sonogram.
11. “The “option?” Come on. No woman seeking an abortion will take that “option.” She doesn’t even want the abdominal sonogram for Pete’s sake. It doesn’t deter abortions in other states that have adopted the practice.
12. The original sponsor of the Senate Bill is disheartened. She says she’ll ask the Senate to kill the amended-in-the-House bill when it comes back to the upper chamber.
14. The House version — the one by Del. Kathy Byron — remains still alive in the Senate. In a face-saving gesture, it’s been watered down to not require transvaginal ultrasound tests, too. But to leave it as “an option.”
You think they’re going to do anything with that hot potato? It’s almost as bad legislation as the original. What remains is a mandate that a woman get a useless and expensive medical test before she has the abortion she’s going to have anyway.
Now it’s become more and more clear that the only purpose of the legislation it to hassle her.
Don’t bet on that bill making it through.
The governor’s chances of running for vice president may be riding on it