Yesterday the Virginia Senate voted 21 to 19 to pass a bill requiring women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound. All but one Republican and two Democrats voted in favor of the bill. Because the Senate approved an amendment that was not in the original House bill, which would create an exception for women who had been raped, the bill must now return to the state House of Delegates for a vote.
Delegate Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) stated, "Tens of thousands of Virginians have made their voices heard on this intrusive government mandate that forces a woman to have a medical procedure without her consent. Playing politics with women's health and women's rights is abhorrent."
Last week, the Virginia House of Delegates voted in favor of the measure after Republican Governor Bob McDonnell submitted an amendment to the bill requiring that women undergo an external, transabdominal ultrasound, as opposed to a transvaginal ultrasound, as originally stated in the bill.
Although McDonnell initially pledged his unconditional support of the transvaginal ultrasound bill, he revised his position earlier this week, saying that he would need to review the bill before signing it. The Governor claimed that he only recently learned about the invasiveness of a transvaginal ultrasound, which requires a probe being inserted into the vagina.
Tarina Keene, president and CEO of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated, "Women will hold them accountable for this government overreach into their private decisions and their constitutional rights. Women should have the option of having an ultrasound, not forced to undergo a completely unnecessary procedure prescribed by politicians."
Media Resources: Richmond Times Dispatch 2/28/12; Statement of Barbara Favola 2/28/12
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .