New Bill Threatens Women’s Rights
By ANNA HALBROOKS-FULKS
The Virginia Senate ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution on Feb. 7, 2012. The ERA guarantees, “Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
Fredericksburg’s State Sen. Bryce Reeves voted in favor of the ERA when it was in the privileges and elections committee.
“I have a wife and daughter, I’m for it,” said Reeves. However, when the bill came to the Senate floor on Feb. 14, Reeves voted against it, claiming that it is no longer necessary. Despite Reeves’ vote, the ERA still passed the Senate.
Virginia State Sen. Walter Stosch was the one Republican to join Senate Democrats to vote in its favor.
On the same day that Sen. Reeves voted against the ERA because it is no longer “necessary,” the House passed SB 462, which requires women to receive an ultrasound before they obtain an abortion, even if her doctor does not recommend one and even if it is against her will.
In order to meet the requirements set forth by this bill, most women obtaining abortions will have to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound. A transvaginal ultrasound is performed through vaginal penetration. In order to obtain an abortion, women must undergo this invasive procedure even if their doctor does not recommend it and even if it is against their will.
Reeves voted in favor of this bill. The House has already passed a similar bill and once it becomes law, women in Virginia will have to submit to a medically unnecessary, costly and intrusive procedure in order to exercise their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.
In light of this development, Reeve’s comments seem absurd. The ERA is no longer necessary? How can Sen. Reeves say that women have equal rights under the law when our autonomy over our own bodies faces such violent threats?