Many political observers, a lot smarter than I am, believe Virginia Republicans’ extreme positions on women’s rights issues cost them the election last fall for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. So it should come as no surprise that the current session of the General Assembly has seen far fewer Republican-sponsored bills to further limit and restrict access to sex education, contraception and even abortion.
Still, one Republican bill now up for consideration in the House of Delegates would explicitly prevent insurance companies from providing any form of contraception drug or device. Already, a 2012 Virginia law prohibits insurance coverage for abortions.
At the same time, however, emboldened Democrats in Richmond are making serious efforts to roll back one of the most draconian of Virginia laws — namely, mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking ways to terminate unwanted pregnancies.
Under this law, the cost of the ultrasound (as much as $600) must be borne by the woman herself — not the state government mandating the procedure. Nor does the man impregnating the woman share any legal or financial responsibility under this legislation.
Several efforts this year to make such ultrasounds optional have so far failed in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates; but on the Senate side, Bill 617, repealing mandatory ultrasounds, narrowly passed this week and will now make its way to the House for consideration.
“There is no reason why politicians in Richmond should be deciding very personal, very difficult decisions that women need to make with their family, their faith and their medical provider,” in the words of one Democratic delegate.
We agree. And if you also agree, please let our own delegate know that he should vote to repeal the mandatory ultrasound. Even though he is one of the Republican “Big Brothers” who mandated this governmental intrusion in the first place, he understands electoral realities. His name is Michael J. Webert, and he can be reached at 540-999-8218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.