Yesterday we lost a difficult fight. Late in the afternoon, Governor McDonnell signed HB 462, which forces women to undergo intrusive, medically unnecessary ultrasounds as a precursor to receiving legal medical care. In so doing, Governor McDonnell demonstrated his dedication to a right wing agenda and his personal political aspirations over the women of Virginia and their families. He imposed his extreme agenda–over your voice and the voice of Virginia’s women and men.
Like you, we are outraged, disappointed, angry, and frustrated. But, in the midst of that, I hope you don’t lose sight of what we accomplished to protect women’s health. We started out this General Assembly session with a Republican controlled legislature and Republican Governor intent on restricting women’s rights and access to health care. They introduced bills including:
- HB62: eliminating access to abortions for low income women
- HB1: defining a fertilized egg as a person
- SB484: requiring invasive,transvaginal ultrasounds without consent for women seeking abortions
- HB462: requiring invasive,transvaginal ultrasounds without consent for women seeking abortions
- Budget amendments defunding Planned Parenthood
Today, thanks to your dedication and action, only one of those bills passed, after it was stripped of its most invasive requirements. While this isn’t the outcome on HB462 that we worked for, I hope you recognize the power of citizen action and continue to fight with us every day to make Virginians’ voices heard. Conservatives do not yet know how large an outcry they have created and how fervently we will fight back until respect for women is restored.
While this is a setback, tomorrow begins the work of holding accountable those who ignored our voices.