UPDATE, 3:40: Governor McDonnell has released a statement regarding the bill, posted after the jump.
Virginia’s Republican Governor Robert McDonnell has come to his senses: he is dropping his support for a scary-ass bill requiring women seeking an abortion to first have a medically unnecessary “transvaginal ultrasound,” aka to be vaginally penetrated with a speculum and ultrasound probe. Keep reading »
One of the scariest anti-abortion bills in the U.S. right now is Virgina’s “mandatory ultrasound” bill, which requires a woman seeking an abortion to be vaginally penetrated with a speculum and ultrasound probe. The doctor operating the transvaginal ultrasound will then reflect that image onscreen; women will be forced to undergo this procedure to have an abortion even if they don’t want it. There is absolutely no medical reason to do a transvaginal ultrasound before an abortion, the bill doesn’t provide any exceptions for victims of rape or incest, and opponents of the bill have pointed out that it is, oh, you know, mandating doctors to sexual assault their patients.
Nevertheless, that scary bill passed Virginia’s House of Delegates last week. Now one politician, Delegate David Englin, a Democrat, is trying to draw attention to the fact that if abortion providers are required to probe women with transvaginal ultrasounds against their will, ultimately these doctors will be punishable under VA’s “object sexual penetration statute.” Keep reading »
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. Keep reading »
You guys, meet Janet Howell, a Democratic Virginia State Senator who is my new hero. Howell was disgusted by a new bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, so she decided to protest it in a decidedly unique way. She attached an amendment to that bill that would also require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication. Keep reading »
A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck Virginia, sending ripples from Washington, D.C. to New York City to Boston to Cleveland, around 1:50 p.m. this afternoon. The whole Frisky office here in NYC started shaking. We initially thought it was Amelia’s breakfast burrito getting the better of her, but now we know the truth: several of us just lived through our first earthquake! We’re hoping all Frisky readers and their loved ones are OK. Feel free to share with us any earthquake-related stories in the comments.
UPDATE: Keep reading »
Tomorrow the United States will execute Teresa Lewis, 41, the first woman to be put to death in the last five years, by lethal injection. In 2002, Lewis left the door of her Danville, Virginia, home unlocked so her lover, Matthew Shallenberger, and his companion, Rodney Fuller, could murder her husband and 25-year-old stepson with shotguns she had purchased. Her husband didn’t die immediately after being shot, but Lewis waited 45 minutes before she called the police. Lewis allegedly wanted to kill her family so she could collect life insurance and inheritance; she allegedly offered sex with her 16-year-old daughter if the murderers went through with the killings.
Lewis’ lawyers have claimed that she is borderline mentally retarded, was allegedly addicted to painkillers, and therefore was not an appropriate candidate for the death penalty. Keep reading »
People with ugly driver’s license photos, the state of Virginia feels your pain. The Department of Motor Vehicles in Virginia banned smiles—yes, smiles—and ordered all new photo-takers to make a “neutral expression” in their portraits. The DMV would like to develop a facial recognition system to standardize documentation and thwart fraudsters and identity thieves. OK, Big Brother, whatever you say.
Just a cranky DMV clerk barking “No smiling!” isn’t enough, though! The DMV’s software can detect and reject “attempts at exuberance or human warmth,” meaning if you flash some dimples or let your pearly whites crack through your lips, a computer will make you take your picture again.
Even though Virginia is just one of 37 DMV agencies nationwide to use the facial recognition software, Virginian drivers aren’t pleased. Groused one driver, “It makes everyone look like criminals.” [Washington Post]
Keep reading »
Mildred Loving, the aptly named civil rights leader and last victim to be criminally tried for interracial marriage, passed away last Friday, at the age of 68. In 1958, she happily married a white man she had been in love with since grade school. Subsequently, she and her husband, Robert, were arrested and forced into exile with their children for violating Virginiaâ€™s Jim Crow laws, but she refused to undo their â€œI doâ€™s.â€ Loving fought for love and took her trials all the way to the Supreme Court — where she and her husband got 17 states’ racist laws slashed. Although she only wanted to be a bride, Loving became an American heroine and she will live on through her heart, which was big enough to change this country. [AP] Keep reading »