The Virginia House GOP has forced through legislation that would grant personhood at conception, which passed 66-32. On a 63-36 vote, the House passed a bill that requires women to have a "transvaginal ultrasound" before undergoing abortions. The bills would all but outlaw abortion in the state.
CBS News adds that the bills passed over heavy objections from Democrats, with one GOP delegate proclaiming that abortions are made as a "lifestyle convenience."
"The General Assembly is dangerously close to making Virginia the first state in the country to grant personhood rights to fertilized eggs," said Tarina Keene of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.
Marshall's bill for years had passed the conservative House only to bog down and die in a moderate Senate. This time, it stands to survive a Senate under new conservative control after last fall's election stripped the Democrats of power. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, a socially conservative Roman Catholic, has said he will sign the ultrasound bill, but has taken no position on Marshall's personhood bill, said his spokesman J. Tucker Martin.
The ultrasound legislation would constitute an unprecedented government mandate to insert vaginal ultrasonic probes into women as part of a state-ordered effort to dissuade them from terminating pregnancies, legislative opponents noted.
Transvaginal ultrasounds are generally used to detect ovarian cancer. Ovarian Cancer Facts.com details the procedure, which many find quite painful:
With you in place, your physician will initiate the process by preparing a transducer for insertion into your vagina. Commonly referred to as a probe, this device uses waves to create images that help your doctor assess the current condition of the reproductive system. A monitor that is attached to the probe allows your doctor to view the images in real time. After placing a condom over the probe and lubricating the device with a gel, it is inserted into your vagina and begins to transmit the images.
The image below is a good graphical representation of what the procedure looks like:
Some in the press are likening the state mandated transvaginal sonogram to legalized rape. The Daily Kos today says the bill is nothing more than state sanctioned sexual assault on women:
I have been a victim of rape, so I don't use the word lightly, but there's no other way to put it.
I'm not about to use soft language to meant to disguise or make palatable what Virginia is a governor's signature away from doing.
And Virginia's governor, Bob McDonnell, has said he will sign the legislation.
The FBI's definition of rape is
“Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
The instrument of the state sponsored, approved of and legalized rape is this, the transvaginal ultrasound probe.
She can't say "no." Even to save her own life, the Commonwealth(almost laughable now) of Virginia will rape her first.
And if rape is why she is seeking an abortion – she will get raped again. This time with the full force and might of a state government.
This bill also makes everyone, from the sonographer, by FBI defition, a rapist.
In my mind it also makes the members of the house and senate, to the governor who signs this bill into law, rapists.
Maybe that's what the "R" after Del. Todd Gilbert (Shenandoah R-15) means.
The below video describes the Virginia personhood bill (starting at 2:25), in which Virginia Republicans call birth control a form of abortion, and that explicitly notes that the state would force women to have the probe, and neither the doctor or the woman would have a choice about it:
Both bills are said to have a "pretty good chance" in the Senate. Virginia's governor has said he will sign it into law. The State of Texas already mandates transvaginal ultrasounds as a deterrent to abortion.