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The Blue & Gray Press | September 25, 2018

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National Protests Change Va. Bill

By LAILA AYUB

Virginia has become the subject of talk across the nation over the past week. Unfortunately, as displayed on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” our state is a laughing stock of sorts, ridiculed for the legislature’s recent debate on a mandatory transvaginal ultrasound before receiving an abortion.

Hundreds across the state organized a protest on the state capitol last Monday. One woman in protest wore a sticker reading “Say No to State-Mandated rapes” in reference to the obligatory ultrasound. Some see the procedure as leading to further trauma for rape victims, as well as simply a violation of human rights, since the woman has no choice in the matter.

Fortunately, the public outcry and national attention destroyed the transvaginal provision, but on Tuesday, Feb. 28, a different mandate took its place. Women trying to receive an abortion must get an abdominal ultrasound and if this image is unclear, the doctor can suggest a transvaginal ultrasound. However, women will not be mandated to get the invasive procedure. The bill exempts cases of rape or incest that are reported to law enforcement.

It is unfortunate that it took such a large public outcry for Virginia legislatures to change this bill. The fact that it almost passed should concern many. A recent survey by The Richmond Times-Dispatch showed that 55 percent of Virginians oppose the measure, while only 36 percent actually support it. Furthermore, Virginians fear that this will set a precedent across the nation for states where anti-abortion advocates wish to reduce the scope of the provisions set forth in the U.S. Supreme Court, Roe vs. Wade decision. The opposition calls these measures “anti-choice,” while the advocates continue to see them as “pro-life.”

Nationally, there has been continued debate over the federal requirement for birth control to be provided whether or not an institution sees it morally fit. Republicans argue that this is an extension of the government into personal decision and it is fundamentally wrong.

This hypocrisy is ludicrous. When Republicans deal with this birth control debate, they claim that it is an extension of government into personal decision-making. However, when it comes to abortions, they turn a blind eye to this criticism.

But perhaps what incited the greatest degree of disappointment and frustration in Virginia’s legislative action was the huge degree of concern on women’s issues, especially by predominantly male delegates and senators, and in a time when most constituents are concerned with more pressing issues such as unemployment. Even when it comes to women’s issues, the larger concern is equal rights, and in a country founded on diverse values but the fundamental principles of freedom and liberty, this means the individual’s right to choose, especially on such sensitive topics.

It is truly shocking that this bill almost passed the Senate, even with under these conditions. It is unbelievable that it took such a large public outcry to bring change.

Brian Auricchio contributed to this article.

Comments

  1. BotanicalWits

    “This hypocrisy is ludicrous. When Republicans deal with this birth control debate, they claim that it is an extension of government into personal decision-making. However, when it comes to abortions, they turn a blind eye to this criticism.”
    The Republican commentary doesn’t deal with whether birth control or abortion is right or wrong. What’s under scrutiny by Republicans is forcing Catholics and other organizations to offer services against their religious beliefs.

  2. Laila Ayub

    ^yes, exactly. (this point pertained more to the original bill) Because it goes against their beliefs and values, which they feel the government should not control. Thus it does not logically follow that they would agree to doctors being forced to perform a procedure which is potentially a sex crime, and would very well go against many or even most people’s values, as would and abortion. If one believes in small government, it should be preserved in all matters delving into personal values.

  3. Bob

    Do these doctors that are forced to preform a medically unnecessary ultrasound (and then put in a women’s medical record whether or not she look at the ultra sound) get the same type of ‘moral exemption’ that Republicans want for employers to refuse birth control (even when it’s used to treat potentially life threatening disorders such as PCOS) and that other doctors get in refusing to preform abortions (even when the mother might die if they do not)? According to Republicans, you can only be free of government intrusion as long as your beliefs agree with theirs.

  4. BotanicalWits

    202.347.8500
    ^^ That’s the Planned Parenthood DC phone number. Feel free to call and complain about Planned Parenthood’s already mandatory pre-abortion ultrasound policy.

  5. Bob

    Because planned parenthood is the only place that does abortions. And there’s a huge difference between a doctor (you know, someone who has a degree in medicine) and the government (run by people who are so educated about medicine that they weren’t even aware the required ultra sound would be vaginal) mandating a medical procedure.
    Also, I, along with many doctors, are morally opposed to forcing the women to view the ultra sound and/or recording in their medical records whether or not they look at it, as that is designed to humiliate and/or upset women already undergoing a tough decision (that is also a legal medical procedure). Can doctors refuse to do that, based on moral grounds?

  6. BotanicalWits

    Planned Parenthood is by far the largest provider, yes. No one should get an abortion from an organization that doesn’t first take an ultrasound, as it’s a basic safety precaution to determine gestational age.