Hi everyone! Thanks for sticking with us during our brief hiatus. We had a few projects that needed to be completed that took precedence over our blog, but we are back and ready start catching up with all the news we missed. To start we are going to talk about an almost update to the Virginia Ultrasound law.
To recap: the Virginia State Senate and House of Delegates passed a law requiring women to get an ultrasound prior to having an abortion. This law was watered down to allow women to choose which type of ultrasound she gets as opposed to requiring a transvaginal during earlier gestational time frames. The law is still absurd and the government has no business regulating what a doctor must do prior to performing a legal surgical procedure. If a doctor deems an ultrasound necessary that should be between them and their patient.
Clearly the State Senate and House of Delegates disagree with that sentiment because they passed the bill and Governor McDonnell signed it into law. It will go into effect starting in July 2012. Democrats in the State Senate opposed the law on numerous grounds, including the cost of ultrasound becoming a burdensome requirement to uninsured and low-income women who would already be struggling with the cost of the procedure. To offset that they proposed an amendment to the states budget that would have required either the state or insurers cover the cost of the ultrasound. It set aside $3.2 million in the budget to cover these costs.
This seems like a pretty reasonable request to me, but apparently Republicans in the State Senate disagreed and voted the amendment down. The Budget was passed by a 34-4 vote. The budget wasn’t a total loss as Democrats were able to get some of the funding Governor McDonnell had tried to get removed from the Medicaid budget restored which kept 1500 people covered. They would have become ineligible under the originally proposed budget. It also adds $56 million to local public schools and I am always in favor of money going to school systems.
Once again Republicans have shown an utter lack of concern for women, particularly those who are low income and uninsured. While I doubt this surprises anyone, it is still sad to see that despite being ridiculed in the media and women (in Virginia and other states) making it clear they don’t want the government intruding on private medical decisions, these lawmakers still feel the need to be as much of a burden as possible. My guess is this insistence on focusing so much on opposing not just abortion, but reproductive health care as a whole, is going to hurt Republicans in the fall. My male Republican friends disagree, but if this CNN story is correct it will be the Democrats election to lose.