It was a tough morning for NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. Their Twitter timeline was just depressing. Three state senators introduced three distinct pro-abortion bills in Richmond, only to have them defeated one-by-one by the Senate Education & Health committee.
The first proposed bill up for debate was SB 733, which would have repealed the mandatory ultrasound law that requires women to view an ultrasound before having an abortion. Senator Mamie Locke (D-VA 2), who introduced the legislation, tried arguing that ultrasounds are unnecessary because “women have already made their decision.”
Locke’s logic is very faulty here. In reality, 78 percent of women who view their ultrasound reject abortion. So, while a woman may think she’s made up her mind to terminate her pregnancy on her way to the clinic, it’s highly likely that she’d change her mind after seeing her ultrasound. The judge seemed to agree, and defended the procedure as “informed consent.” Locke’s bill was struck down.
Senate Bill 733 is defeated by 8 GOP anti-abortion lawmakers. 7 dems votes in support— NARAL Pro-Choice VA (@NARALVirginia) January 29, 2015
Then, there was Sen. Jennifer Wexton’s (D- VA 33) bill, SB 920, to repeal the 24-hour waiting period, echoing Locke's argument that women have already made up their mind, rendering such legislation useless. Again, the committee rejected her farfetched reasoning.
Sen Wexton bill to repeal 24 hr waiting period fails 9-6— NARAL Pro-Choice VA (@NARALVirginia) January 29, 2015
Finally, the legislature considered SB 769, a bill sponsored by Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D- VA 9), which would repeal the ban on insurance coverage for abortion within Virginia’s state health exchange. Despite pro-abortion advocates arguing that companies should be able to provide whatever services they chooses, McEachin’s bill had the same fate.
.@Donald_McEachin's bill to repeal ban on insurance coverage for abortion within state exchange also defeated in Senate Ed & Health cmte— NARAL Pro-Choice VA (@NARALVirginia) January 29, 2015
It’s true private companies should not be prohibited by the government when it comes to goods and services, but that right does need to be limited when it comes to the life of an unborn child.
These failed bills are likely to be unwelcome news for Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA), who once vowed to be a "brick wall" against restrictions to women's abortion rights.
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, who sent representatives to testify on behalf of these pro-abortion bills, posted a reaction to this morning’s defeat. Here’s what Jill Abbey, administrator of the Richmond, Roanoke and Charlottesville Medical Centers for Women, had to say:
"As an administrator of three women’s health centers in the Commonwealth, I have witnessed first-hand the barriers that Virginia’s mandatory ultrasounds and 24 hour waiting period requirements have on Virginia women and the doctors that serve them. Our patients are often forced to return to our facility as many as three times before accessing an abortion – which can mean additional travel expenses, child care costs, and time off work. This law is about one thing and one thing only: reducing access to safe, legal abortion and shaming the women who choose to access it.”
Abbey may think she is speaking on behalf of Virginia women, but the reality is that ultrasounds and waiting periods help to encourage a culture of life. Just one glimpse of her child in the womb, or a few extra hours to think about her decision could move a mother to choose life.
It may not look like it from NARAL’s Twitter account, but these are indeed victories.