Charlottesville, VA—When Justin Fairfax and Jill Vogel face off in their first forum of the Lieutenant Governor’s race Wednesday, Vogel will have yet another opportunity to apologize for her sponsorship of the infamous transvaginal ultrasound bill. In 2012, State Senator Vogel introduced SB484, requiring a woman who decided to have an abortion to undergo an additional waiting period and ultrasound before she could proceed with the procedure. In debates on the Senate floor, doctor and then-State Senator Ralph Northam revealed the bill’s ultrasound requirement would mandate an invasive, transvaginal ultrasound regardless of a physician’s medical advice or a woman’s preference.
In the face of massive state and federal criticism, Vogel struck the bill. However, the damage was already done—the legislature approved and Governor Bob McDonnell signed a revised version of the bill carried by Delegate Kathy Byron that requires a woman to undergo an additional 24 hour waiting period and mandated ultrasound, even when not medically indicated or useful. Vogel’s transvaginal ultrasound proposal kicked off a wave off proposals for similar restrictions across the country and turned Virginia’s legislature into fodder for late night comedy shows.
“Jill Vogel was the chief architect of outrageous attacks on women’s reproductive rights in the Virginia State Senate, including sponsoring the extreme transvaginal ultrasound bill,” said Progress Virginia executive director Anna Scholl. “In fact, since 2010, Vogel and her GOP colleagues in the Virginia General Assembly have introduced over 85 restrictions on women’s access to reproductive care. Wednesday, Vogel has an opportunity to apologize to women and our families for leading attacks on our basic rights and turning our state into a national laughingstock. We need to know it will never happen again.”
Vogel’s SB484 instigated backlash across Virginia. Over 1,200 women descended on Capitol Square to stage a silent protest. Thirty-one protestors were arrested after staging a sit-in on the Capitol steps and being surrounded by police in riot gear. Vogel’s legislation reached national infamy and was ridiculed on Saturday Night Live and the Daily Show.
Vogel and Democratic nominee Justin Fairfax will appear Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the Senior Statesmen Forum at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville.