Senate Democrats Offer a Pro-Women Agenda: Fight to Repeal Ultrasound Mandate and TRAP Regulations
Richmond, Virginia — January 17, 2013 — Senator Barbara A. Favola (D-31) spoke passionately before the Senate Education and Health Committee yesterday about bills to repeal the mandate that a woman must undergo an ultrasound prior to an abortion.
As chief co-patron of SB 1080 and SB 1082, Senator Favola said, “The government should not be in the doctor’s examination office and politicians should not come between a woman and her physician. Women deserve to have their constitutional rights to privacy protected. These rights were reinforced in the Roe v. Wade decision some forty years ago. The Commonwealth should honor these rights, not trample on them... A decision to consider an abortion is a complex, personal decision and that decision is best made by a woman in consultation with her doctor, family, and faith leader— not by the government.”
Senator Ralph Northam (D-6), also chief co-patron of SB 1080 and SB 1082, spoke before the committee today, saying, "It is shameful that despite nation-wide outrage, testimony from our state's medical community, and the thousands of calls from Virginia's women and men to repeal mandatory ultrasound bill, extremist legislators opted to uphold the embarrassing legislation from 2012. I will continue to fight for the freedom of choice and protection of the doctor patient relationship for all Virginians."
Despite these cogent remarks, and several statements in support of the bill by medical practitioners, Planned Parenthood, and other organizations, the bill to repeal the mandated ultrasound requirement was passed by indefinitely yesterday morning by an 8-7 vote along party lines.
Senator Mark Herring (D-33) introduced two bills, SB 1115 and SB 1116, which would remove TRAP (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) laws. These regulations would classify women’s health clinics as hospitals, requiring them to make changes to the centers’ infrastructure in order to comply with the Department of Health.
As with the mandated ultrasound repeal bills, Senator Herring’s bills were also passed by indefinitely by the same partisan vote. He commented on this action, saying, “Republicans want to make women’s access to health care harder, not easier. They voted to make women’s health care more expensive, not less. From intrusive, unnecessary medical procedures to government mandates that add expense to health care, the Republicans seem bent on making women’s lives more difficult. That’s wrong, and we need to reverse these policies.”
This partisan divide sends a message to the Democrats, as well as to the women negatively affected by this mandate, that the Senate Republicans will continue to threaten the privacy and reproductive rights of women of Virginia.