Virginia Advances Anti-Abortion “Fetal Personhood” And “Transvaginal Ultrasound” Bills

Virginia politicians advanced two extreme and extremely disturbing anti-abortion bills yesterday — Valentine’s Day, for God’s sake! One is a so-called “fetal personhood” amendment, which would criminalize all abortions by declaring that a fertilized egg is a person. 

The state’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates overwhelmingly passed the “fetal personhood” bill, which now heads to the state Senate. If the bill passes the state Senate and is signed into law by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, it would be the most sweeping criminalization of abortion in the United States.

Both Colorado, Mississippi, North Dakota and Alabama have all been unsuccessful in their attempts to criminalize abortion by granting the fetus status as a “person” — but nevertheless the concept behind the bill is popular amongst anti-abortion politicians. (According to Reuters, VA seeks to identify s fetus as  “person” in the legal code, as opposed to the CO and MS bills, which sought to amend their state constitutions.)  These bills fail not only because they’re so extreme in criminalizing abortion but also because they could possibly be interpreted as banning both birth control and infertility treatment, too.

Unfortunately, the “fetal personhood” bill wasn’t the only nutty and frightening piece of legislation that Virginia’s House of Delegates passed. Another bill was advanced requiring a woman undergoing an abortion to have a “transvaginal ultrasound” — i.e., to require a doctor to insert a speculum and then an ultrasound probe into a her vagina against her will and reflect that image onscreen. Not only is a bill like this rather rape-y in its forcefulness — and yes, I realize that is a strong statement, and I mean it strongly — but there is no medically necessary reason to do so. And there are no exceptions. Gov. McDonnell has stated his intention to sign the “transvaginal ultrasound” bill if it lands on his desk.

I’m frightened, quite frightened, by the severity of these anti-abortions and the utter lack of compassion the latter one shows for women. 



[News Leader]

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