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TheRootDC
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Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 02/28/2012

Virginia proposal for ultrasounds before abortion shows Republicans are out of touch

Unemployment is running at an historic high and 5.5 million Americans have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Wages have declined. Gas prices are $4 a gallon or higher in some spots and Virginia Republicans want to waste time forcing women to have vaginal probes before they choose to have abortions.

This isn’t just the wrong bill at the wrong time. It makes Republicans look like Puritans conducting the Salem Witch Trials and utterly out of touch! Americans want their elected officials to get the country back on track, create jobs and boost this lifeless economy.

As a cab driver told me this week, “Virginia Republicans are making us look like a laughing stock with this ridiculous bill, which tramples on women’s rights and any chances for the Republican presidential nominee to win Virginia or the election.”

In their collective stupidity, Virginia Republicans decided to use their majority in the state assembly to push an anti-abortion bill that would mandate a woman in her first trimester of pregnancy have an invasive ultrasound before choosing to have an abortion.

At that stage of pregnancy, the only way for an ultrasound to be performed is by inserting a probe into the woman’s vagina. (While they’re at it, the Virginia Assembly should mandate the man who impregnated the woman go through a similar experience to be fair.)

And the procedure would not be covered by insurance companies because it wouldn’t be considered medically necessary, so a woman would have to pay for the state pushing its extreme religious views on her. But hey, their party line is “let’s just treat women like heretics.”

Making matters even worse, Virginia GOP lawmakers also introduced a personhood bill, which sought to change the definition of a person to a fertilized egg. It’s troubling at a time of economic turmoil that conservatives would focus on a social issue like abortion with such zeal.

What the tea party movement taught us in 2010 is fiscal issues are the most important thing to voters right now and focusing on these issues help Republicans win elections (see House GOP Majority).Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) won the governor’s race in 2010 because he focused on the bread-and-butter issues of jobs and the economy instead of wedge issues like people’s bedrooms or abortion.

Standing up for traditional family values is important for Republicans to do in an age where political correctness seems to be driving the traditional family and morals from the definition of normal. But making social issues, like limiting abortion, legislative priorities is a losing proposition and a waste of political capital.

Republicans condemned Obama for violating the Catholic Church’s First Amendment rights in forcing Catholic organizations to pay for contraception in their health care plan, and rightfully so; however, Virginia Republican lawmakers are trying to force their religious beliefs on all women in the state.

The bill violates a woman’s 14th amendment right, as the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 in Roe v.. Wade. In the Supreme Court’s ruling, it expressly states during the first trimester of pregnancy, the decision to have an abortion rests between a mother and her physician, not the state.

By mandating a woman receive an ultrasound in her first trimester, Virginia’s anti-abortion bill deliberately violates Roe v.. Wade in an effort by Republican zealots to force their religious views upon women which also violates their First Amendment rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise thereof.” As individuals, we may abhor abortion due to religious or personal beliefs but we cannot force our beliefs on others, especially since that would violate the U.S. Constitution.

Perhaps realizing the disastrous repercussions this bill could have on the GOP and its presidential nominee, McDonnell, who has endorsed Mitt Romney, is urging lawmakers to change the bill so it won’t require a vaginal ultrasound:

“No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure,” said McDonnell.

But McDonnell said he would sign the bill if it requires a regular ultrasound. Following the governors logic, if no person should be forced by the state to have a medical procedure before having another, then forcing women to have any kind of ultrasound is wrong. A better solution would be for McDonnell to encourage Virginia Republicans to abandon this madness altogether.

In 2008, the people of Virginia voted for Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama, turning this red state blue for the first time in 40 years. With legislative moves like this made by out-of-touch Republicans, Virginia has a good chance of staying blue in this election cycle and the GOP stands a good chance of becoming the biggest loser of 2012.

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By Crystal Wright  |  09:00 AM ET, 02/28/2012

Categories:  The Root DC Live

 
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