Virginia GOP backs down: One battle in the War on Women™ won – 12,087 to go.

It turns out that threatening to rape people for having the temerity to ask for a legal surgical procedure is a bridge too far:

House Republican leaders are expected to try to amend a bill on Wednesday that would require women to undergo a [transvaginal] ultrasound before an abortion.

Legislators and governor’s staff met Tuesday night to hash out a compromise that would make the ultrasounds voluntary, but not mandatory, before an abortion, several people with knowledge of the meeting said Wednesday.

But lest you think that this means that the GOP has decided to treat women as full human beings, and our bodily autonomy as a matter of some concern? Read on:

[Virginia Governor Robert ] McDonnell, who held a news conference on a unrelated matter on Wednesday, declined to answer reporters’ questions about the ultrasound legislation or Tuesday night’s meeting.

“You know what I’m concerned about? I’m concerned about the budget,’’ McDonnell said as he walked away with security and aides.

If we’ve learned nothing else from the Komen and state-sanctioned-rape battles, though, I hope to God we’ve learned that raising our voices in outrage makes a difference.

The battle continues.



  1. chingona

     /  February 22, 2012

    “You know what I’m concerned about? I’m concerned about the budget,’’ McDonnell said as he walked away with security and aides.

    If Republicans don’t want to talk about abortion, maybe they could, oh, I don’t know, stop introducing onerous anti-abortion legislation. I bet the women of VIrginia would also rather worry about the budget.

  2. Maybe I’m just a skeptic, and maybe that comes from living in another state run by idiots, but I’m not sure that the change from mandatory to voluntary is enough of a win. (And what would voluntary mean anyway? Why pass a law that says an ultrasound could be offered? Couldn’t a doctor offer that horrible idea under existing law?)

    In fact, there haven’t been any changes suggested yet, as near as I can tell; as the article mentions, they’re just talking about amendments. Virginia actually has a nice page for tracking legislation, and from it I think we are talking about SB 484 and HB 462.

    Until satisfactory amendments have been passed, I’m not comfortable yet. For all we know, they’ll make noise about amendments but not actually discuss what was changed (like they didn’t actually discuss what went on in those meetings), sweep that under the rug, and try to get the governor to sign this.

    So let’s keep an eye on this. More outrage may be required …

    • Don’t get comfortable – there are still 12,087 battles to go, remember?

      • For all we know, the “compromise” language may be something like “The procedure is voluntary; instead, a woman may obtain a Waiver of Ultrasound Procedure from a doctor not located in the same country as the doctor who would be performing the abortion …” or some such nonsense like that. Until there is actual language that makes it voluntary with no legal consequences for either the woman or the doctor, or until the bill itself is dead, I don’t think this battle’s over. (Killing the bill doesn’t kill the idea, either, but for now I think it would be enough to prevent any onerous laws from being passed until Virginia residents can get rid of some of these incompetents.)

  3. Good news. My 7 year old daughter last night said to me. “Daddy did you know the Republicans are starting a war against women.” She had turned on the TV and PBS was on talking about Virginia! Now I can tell her good news.

  4. I know everyone wants to claim this as victory, but the fact is, the whole bill needs to be shelved, not just the most execrable provision of it. It’s an assault on the rights of women to have safe and legal abortions, and nothing short of completely dismantling it is a victory. We can’t act as if a half-measure is good enough; we are talking the lives of women, here. The Governor’s feet need to be kept to the fire… better yet, he and every other person who voted for this bill need to be sent packing, though given it is Virginia, I find it hard to believe that will happen.

    • For the women who will now not be raped by their doctors because the law said so, this is a victory. Full stop. It just is.

      But more to the point, victory in a battle doesn’t mean victory in the war, which is why I said that we still have a metaphorical 12,087 battles to go. You’re right that the war most certainly continues.