Early this morning the House Committee on Transportation voted 15-7 to report the bill that authorizes Choose Life license plates. The full House of Delegates will vote on the bill early next week. Because funds from this license plate would go to deceptive, anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers, we need all pro-choice supporters to contact their Delegate as soon as possible and ask them to oppose Choose Life license plates.
Later, the Senate Committee on Education and Health held hearings on two bills we oppose and defeated both by voting to pass them by indefinitely. HB2634, a bill to require that physicians give women seeking an abortion medically contentious information about the ability of a fetus to feel pain, came up first. Senator Ralph Northam questioned the patron, Delegate Ben Cline, about whether there was medical evidence to support the claims made in the bill. Delegate Cline’s answer was a perfect example of why politicians should not insert themselves into the doctor-patient relationship–they are not qualified! He basically got schooled by Senator Northam, who is actually a physician–a pediatric neurologist, in fact.
Then the committee took up HB2579, patroned by Delegate Kathy Byron, which would have required a physician to perform an ultrasound before performing an abortion and would have further required that the physician offer the woman the opportunity to view the ultrasound.
NARAL Virginia testified against the bill because we resent its underlying implication—that women are flippant about their decision to terminate a pregnancy. As NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenen has said, “Women live with complex decisions about if or when to bear children . . . if or when to carry a pregnancy to term . . . if or when the termination of a pregnancy is necessary for their sake or their family’s sake; And women deserve our respect and our support for their moral decision making— and not an attempt by politicians to insert themselves into these most personal, intimate, private decisions.”
We further resent the implication that physicians that provide abortions are somehow sinister or seek to coerce patients into undergoing the abortion procedure without giving them full and unbiased information. No one makes this suggestion about physicians who perform any other procedure. Passing a law that requires doctors to perform any particular diagnostic test prior to a medical procedure sets a precedent for the state to dictate to doctors how to practice medicine in other areas as well as abortion.
So all in all, not a bad day–we got two wins–and the fight to prevent funding for crisis pregnancy centers continues!