Posts tagged abortion

Virginia governor no longer fully supports ultrasounds before abortions

Here’s a link to my last post on this subject if you need some background. This latest development looks like another example of a politician bowing to the pressure of the people! It’s not over yet, but it’s heading in the right direction…

Anita Kumar, The Washington Post

RICHMOND — Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is backing off his unconditional support for a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, focusing new attention on one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in Virginia’s General Assembly this year.

Until this weekend, McDonnell (R) and his aides had said the governor would sign the measure if it made it to his desk. McDonnell, who strongly opposes abortion, will no longer make that commitment.

But delegates and governor’s staff were scheduled to meet Tuesday night to strike a compromise after learning that some ultrasounds could be more invasive than first thought, according to two officials who were aware of the meeting but not authorized to speak about it publicly. Many of the bill’s supporters were apparently unaware of how invasive the procedure could be, one of the officials added.

The Virginia legislation has become part of the broader national debate over reproductive rights and has drawn attention to McDonnell, a rising star in his party and a possible vice presidential contender. The legislation has been the topic of cable news shows, was part of a “Saturday Night Live” sketch and drew protesters to Richmond on Monday.

McDonnell’s office would say Tuesday only that the governor will “review” the bill if it is approved.

“Our position is: If the General Assembly passes this bill the governor will review it, in its final form, at that time,” McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said in a statement. He declined to explain the change in approach, but Virginia’s governors can sign, veto or amend legislation.

The House and Senate have approved their versions of the bill. On Tuesday, the House postponed a final vote on the legislation— as well as votes on other measures on guns and adoption — for the second day in a row.

“Something is happening,’’ Jessica Honke, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said hopefully. “It’s important for [the governor] to take a long, hard look before he actually does this.”

In recent days, abortion supporters have emphasized that women in the earliest stages of pregnancy may require a probe instead of an external test.

About 1,200 men and women held a silent protest outside the state Capitol on Monday, wearing hand-decorated T-shirts that bore such messages as “Virginia is for lovers, not probes.’’

Opponents of the measure expect to turn over petitions with 25,000 signatures on Wednesday and are planning a second rally on Thursday.

In the past week, the issue has been featured on left-leaning shows, including “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton.” And “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” arrived in Richmond on Tuesday to film.

The legislation is being used against Republicans outside of the General Assembly. National and state Democrats have criticized U.S. Senate candidate George Allen for his anti-abortion stand and have derided McDonnell, who has hit the campaign trail for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

Republicans at the Capitol, however, remain optimistic that McDonnell will sign the measure.

“The governor is strongly pro-life, and I think he would hold consistent in his support for this bill,” said Del. Ben L. Cline (R-Rockbridge), co-chairman of the Conservative Caucus.

Republicans, in control of the General Assembly since last month, have other abortion-related bills pending during the 60-day legislative session.

Bills ending state subsidies for low-income women to abort fetuses that have serious birth defects and giving rights to a fertilized egg at the moment of conception are working their way through the legislature.

Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake) took to the House floor Tuesday to say: “I’m deeply disappointed in some of you. I can’t believe you would disrespect women in this county, in this state.”

The ultrasound legislation would require women to undergo a test to determine the gestation age of the fetus, hear the heartbeat and be given an opportunity to see the images.

A woman who refuses to look at the ultrasound would have to sign a statement, which along with a print of the image would become part of her medical file.

The bill also would require women who live within 100 miles of their abortion provider to wait at least 24 hours before having the procedure, except in emergencies. Those who live farther would have to wait two hours.

Supporters of the ultrasound measure say it would provide crucial medical information to women seeking abortions; opponents say it would subject women to unnecessary tests and invade their privacy.

It is unclear whether insurance companies would cover the procedure.

Democrats hope to alter the bill on Wednesday to make the ultrasound voluntary.

“There is no doubt that this bill . . . is fundamentally and seriously flawed,” Del. Charniele Herring (Alexandria) told her colleagues. “It is time to end the shame that has been brought to Virginia and to this chamber by this extreme bill.’’

The officials with knowledge of Tuesday night’s Republican meeting said GOP leaders hope to introduce amendments on Wednesday, but it is unclear whether the rank and file would support them.

McDonnell, who signed legislation last year that imposed new regulations for abortion clinics, first said last month that he would sign the ultrasound bill. His position was reiterated by his press secretary, Jeff Caldwell.

Victoria Cobb, president of the conservative Family Foundation, which considers the ultrasound bill one of its top priorities, said Tuesday that she and her staff were trying to determine what they need to do to persuade the governor to sign the legislation.

“It is a change as far as I can tell,” she said of McDonnell’s shift.

House passes 'personhood' and ultrasound measures

Full article from the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Nothing against Whitney Houston, but I got so sick of hearing the Bodyguard song that I stopped watching the news for the past few days. In doing so, I missed this bomb of a bill passed in the Virginia State House of Delegates yesterday: In summation, personhood would start at the moment of conception and women would be required to get an ultrasound when getting an abortion. The pros say that this is to make sure women are getting the best medical treatment and to avoid complications during the procedure; cons say that it is invasive and only meant to unfairly dissuade women.

Now, I’m not one to support abortion as birth control for those idiots who can’t do something as simple as take a pill each day or do one of the countless other measures out there to prevent pregnancy. However, there are so many endless situations that surround why a woman would agree to get an abortion - incest, rape, terminal birth defects - not to mention just being young or unprepared or knowing that the child they would have would be unwanted or uncared for, that I agree with Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, D-Henrico, who basically, says, butt out gov’t:

"It involves government in something that only should involve God and family and doctor," he said. - Richmond Times-Dispatch

And NOT with Del. Bob Marshall who is the one pushing the Bill through, who once said this:

Asked once about abortions in the case of incest, Marshall replied that sometimes the incest was voluntary.

“The woman becomes a sin-bearer of the crime, because the right of a child predominates over the embarrassment of the woman,” he said. - NY Daily News

At any rate, this could be a major step for Virginia and a HUGE change for any women who live in this state. Everyone needs to be aware this happening and make their opinions heard by email, phone, or mail to the Virginia General Assembly.


I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Susan G. Komen foundation has stopped its donations to Planned Parenthood. Hopefully Komen will come around, but if not, at least something good will come of this debacle…just maybe, maybe, people will finally realize that Planned Parenthood is about SO MUCH MORE than abortions! Annual gyno exams, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, pregnancy exams, and on and on. Then finally, as one small percentage, you have abortions and that’s only at some centers. They can allocate what money from what donors go there, so Komen money does not have to go toward that portion of what PP does.
Here’s a good article form Huffington Post that explains the situation:

Susan G. Komen, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, announced on Tuesday that it had adopted a new rule against partnering with organizations that are under investigation, and that it would therefore sever ties with Planned Parenthood, which is currently under investigation in Congress. The groups that prompted that investigation are anti-abortion advocacy organizations that have long criticized Planned Parenthood, primarily a women’s health and family planning organization, over the fact that some of its clinics offer abortions.
Komen has faced an increasing amount of pressure from the public, women’s health groups, lawmakers and even some of its own regional affiliates to reverse the decision and continue its five-year partnership with Planned Parenthood. The $600,000 that Komen donated annually to the organization provided underserved women with free and low-cost breast exams.
Planned Parenthood announced Wednesday that it had received $400,000 in donations in the 24 hours following Komen’s announcement. In addition, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said on Thursday that he would give $250,000 to Planned Parenthood to help make up for the loss.
“Politics have no place in health care,” he said in a statement. “Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.”
A spokesperson for Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) said that he personally called Komen founder Nancy Brinker to complain when he heard the news on Tuesday, and he and 22 other members of the House of Representatives have signed onto a letter asking her to reverse her decision.
"This is an alarming development resulting from political pressure from anti-women’s health organizations," the letter says. "We ask – in the strongest possible terms – that Susan G. Komen reconsider its decision, as the health of millions of brave women everywhere demands the same kind of bravery exhibited the Komen Foundation."
A similar letter was signed by two dozen senators.
Komen maintains that pressure from anti-abortion groups and the recent hiring of vice president Karen Handel, who ran for governor of Georgia on an anti-Planned Parenthood platform as a Republican in 2010, had nothing to do with the decision. Founder Nancy Brinker went on the defensive Thursday during an appearance on MSNBC, saying that the decision was a result of a number of congressional and state investigations into Planned Parenthood, and that most people actually applauded the decision to defund the family planning provider.
"All I can tell you is that the responses we’re getting are very, very favorable," she told host Andrea Mitchell. "People who have bothered to read the material, who have bothered to understand the issues— again, we work for a mission every day of our lives."
Honda, whose chief of staff is a breast cancer survivor, said he is concerned that Komen’s decision will set a precedent, in which any politician can simply open an investigation into a group they disagree with now in order to jeopardize that group’s funding.
"We know that breast cancer does not discriminate, nor should our support to vanquish the disease," he said.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Susan G. Komen foundation has stopped its donations to Planned Parenthood. Hopefully Komen will come around, but if not, at least something good will come of this debacle…just maybe, maybe, people will finally realize that Planned Parenthood is about SO MUCH MORE than abortions! Annual gyno exams, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, pregnancy exams, and on and on. Then finally, as one small percentage, you have abortions and that’s only at some centers. They can allocate what money from what donors go there, so Komen money does not have to go toward that portion of what PP does.

Here’s a good article form Huffington Post that explains the situation:

Susan G. Komen, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, announced on Tuesday that it had adopted a new rule against partnering with organizations that are under investigation, and that it would therefore sever ties with Planned Parenthood, which is currently under investigation in Congress. The groups that prompted that investigation are anti-abortion advocacy organizations that have long criticized Planned Parenthood, primarily a women’s health and family planning organization, over the fact that some of its clinics offer abortions.

Komen has faced an increasing amount of pressure from the public, women’s health groups, lawmakers and even some of its own regional affiliates to reverse the decision and continue its five-year partnership with Planned Parenthood. The $600,000 that Komen donated annually to the organization provided underserved women with free and low-cost breast exams.

Planned Parenthood announced Wednesday that it had received $400,000 in donations in the 24 hours following Komen’s announcement. In addition, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said on Thursday that he would give $250,000 to Planned Parenthood to help make up for the loss.

“Politics have no place in health care,” he said in a statement. “Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.”

A spokesperson for Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) said that he personally called Komen founder Nancy Brinker to complain when he heard the news on Tuesday, and he and 22 other members of the House of Representatives have signed onto a letter asking her to reverse her decision.

"This is an alarming development resulting from political pressure from anti-women’s health organizations," the letter says. "We ask – in the strongest possible terms – that Susan G. Komen reconsider its decision, as the health of millions of brave women everywhere demands the same kind of bravery exhibited the Komen Foundation."

A similar letter was signed by two dozen senators.

Komen maintains that pressure from anti-abortion groups and the recent hiring of vice president Karen Handel, who ran for governor of Georgia on an anti-Planned Parenthood platform as a Republican in 2010, had nothing to do with the decision. Founder Nancy Brinker went on the defensive Thursday during an appearance on MSNBC, saying that the decision was a result of a number of congressional and state investigations into Planned Parenthood, and that most people actually applauded the decision to defund the family planning provider.

"All I can tell you is that the responses we’re getting are very, very favorable," she told host Andrea Mitchell. "People who have bothered to read the material, who have bothered to understand the issues— again, we work for a mission every day of our lives."

Honda, whose chief of staff is a breast cancer survivor, said he is concerned that Komen’s decision will set a precedent, in which any politician can simply open an investigation into a group they disagree with now in order to jeopardize that group’s funding.

"We know that breast cancer does not discriminate, nor should our support to vanquish the disease," he said.