Pre-abortion ultrasounds still required in Virginia
RICHMOND — A Republican-run Senate committee swiftly killed legislation on Monday that would have made Virginia's mandatory pre-abortion ultrasound exams optional when the committee chairman blocked discussion of the bill.
The hastily convened Privileges and Elections Committee special meeting lasted just minutes with Democratic Sen. Ralph Northam's bill dying on a party-line vote. Six Republicans opposed, and three Democrats supported it. Once proxy votes from absent Republicans were added, the final tally swelled to 8-3. Four committee Democrats did not vote.
“What a kangaroo court this is, Mr. Chairman. This is an embarrassment,” Northam huffed after committee chairman Steve Martin ordered a roll call vote while stifling efforts by Northam, who is a doctor, and at least one other physician to testify for the bill.
Martin, a Republican, contended the committee had discussed the bill. Its history in the Legislative Information System, however, showed that Senate Bill 1332 had never been before a committee or a subcommittee.
Martin then reasoned that because the bill had the same net effect as those to repeal the ultrasound mandate that the committee had already killed that any distinctions were irrelevant.
Northam stormed from the room, the latest partisan skirmish in a legislative session of deep resentments between Senate Democrats and Republicans that threatens to stalemate many of the year's most consequential initiatives.
Martin and Northam are both candidates in November's lieutenant governor election.
“This was, again, just an example of how they're doing business these days,” Northam said outside the meeting room. He was trying to explain to Dr. Kenneth Olshansky, a retired Richmond plastic surgeon who hoped to testify in favor of the bill, why he was not allowed to speak.
Last year, the legislation that requires doctors to “perform fetal transabdominal ultrasound imaging” at least 24 hours before abortions triggered angry protests, predominantly by women's rights advocates. The protests culminated in dozens of arrests on the state Capitol's steps last March. The law also resulted in scathing editorials and of Virginia Republicans, including Gov. Bob McDonnell, being lampooned by television comedians.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘12 Days of Christmas’ items top $34K, up 0.6 percent
- New Navy destroyer Zumwalt’s seaworthiness questioned before sea trials
- Iraq War veteran, mother of 2 slain in Colorado clinic rampage
- Upstate New York town threatened by Arizona man in online post, reports say
- Hunt on for mother of baby buried alive in California
- Storm lingers in southern Plains
- Foreign policy expert: Obama administration should create Syria safe areas
- Pot doctors in medical marijuana states push boundaries with marketing
- Federal $1.1 trillion spending bill loaded with policy deals
- Colorado clinic shooting suspect talked of baby parts, police say
- Police officer killed in Colorado Spring clinic rampage a co-pastor, figure skater