VA Governor Changes Position on Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) has indicated that he would need to review the bill, which requires that women seeking an abortion undergo a transvaginal ultrasound, before signing it. The Governor claimed to have recently learned about the invasiveness of a transvaginal ultrasound, which requires a probe being inserted into the vagina. Previously, the Governor pledged his unconditional support of the bill.
Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Governor McDonnell stated, "Our position is: If the General Assembly passes this bill the governor will review it, in its final form, at that time." The House and the Senate have approved separate versions of the bill, although yesterday the House postponed a final vote on the Senate bill. An amendment, introduced by Delegate Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), requiring the women's consent for the transvaginal ultrasound probe was ruled non germane by the House Speaker. An alternate amendment introduced by Delegate David Englin (D-Alexandria) was then voted down. This means a probe must be inserted into the woman's vagina with or without her consent if she seeks an abortion. Democrats are currently trying to change the bill to make the ultrasound optional.
Delegate Herring remarked, "There is no doubt that this bill...is fundamentally and seriously flawed. It is time to end the shame that has been brought to Virginia and to this chamber by this extreme bill."
On Monday, between 1,000 and 1,500 women stood arm-in-arm yesterday at the Virginia state Capitol in Richmond to silently protest this bill, as well as a personhood amendment, scheduled for votes by the state's General Assembly.
Media Resources: Washington Post 2/22/12; NBC4 2/22/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/21/12
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .