John Stewart

John Stewart

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

I’m sorry folks, but I cannot resist writing again about my legislature here in Virginia.  After all, our elected officials, including Governor Bob McDonnell, have been the butt of jokes on Saturday Night Live and John Stewart.  Why shouldn’t I jump into the mosh pit?

By now, everyone knows how the legislature passed a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before they could get their abortion.  The unstated purpose of the legislation, of course, was to put yet one more (expensive) obstacle in the way of women seeking to obtain a legal medical service.  Oh, sure, the pro-lifers argued that women need to have even more information about the abortion procedure because, well they don’t say it out loud but, women are DUMB.  But thankfully we have these strong, sensitive, intelligent mostly male legislators to get women through this procedure!

Anti Abortion Governor

Anti Abortion Governor

Ultimately, however, the boys found out that many women would have to get a vaginal ultrasound, which means sticking a probe up “there.”  Suddenly, charges of “State Sponsored Rape” hit the airwaves, jokes abounded and Virginia became a national laughing stock.  How did all of this happen?

Bills in the Virginia legislature move very, very fast.  A hearing on a bill can last only an hour and they are usually perfunctory exercises.  That’s particularly true with the abortion issue, where elected officials are either for or against.  It is a rare legislator who actually thinks about this issue and 99 percent of them vote on abortion like lemmings to the sea.  They just have their aide check to see the position of the pro-life or pro-choice groups and they vote with their buddies, the goal being getting a 100 percent rating on their annual “scorecards.”

Vaginal Probe Sonogram

Vaginal Probe Sonogram

So, in this case when the vote came up, both sides voted accordingly.  Then, the poop hit the fan.  It seems that some lawyer from out of state actually thought about the effect of the bill and reasoned that the “jelly belly” ultrasound for a woman who was in the early stages of pregnancy wouldn’t work because you can’t see the fetus that well which meant that they’d have to perform a – dare I say it – vaginal ultrasound!  Even the folks at Virginia NARAL were surprised.

Soon after things hit the fan, Governor McDonnell started to back track.  And the reason was simple – he has national political aspirations and could not afford to because a late night television joke.  In essence, he had to admit that he and his fellow pro-lifers hadn’t thought the bill through and so they will now pass something less drastic.

This whole process (or lack thereof) is yet another example of why politicians should not be involved in this issue.  They’re out there trying to score political points, not understanding that they are actually affecting the lives of women.  But there’s another disturbing issue – and that is that this is yet another example of how the pro-choice groups still don’t seem to be communicating well with the actual abortion clinics.  The day the bill was introduced, didn’t anyone think about picking up the phone to ask a local clinic how it would impact on them?   It doesn’t sound like that happened because, if they had talked to the clinic, the doctor or nurse could have easily told them how ultrasounds work.

It’s sad to think that we have John Stewart and the folks at SNL to thank for defeating this legislation.

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