Are Republicans getting cold feet over the ultrasound bill?

In spite of the heat emanating from Sen. Jill Vogel’s SB 484, it should come as no surprise that some legislators are getting cold feet on requiring women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound first. The Roanoke Times picks up this twist in the story:

Two legislators — one a conservative Republican — speaking Tuesday on the condition of anonymity said one idea officials have discussed is making the ultrasound legislation optional rather than mandatory.

Other options are to pass the bills by or park them in committee. Either of those moves could effectively shelve the legislation for the year.

And not to be left out of the fun, my friend Paul Goldman is circulating one of his famous columns via email, in which he writes that his sources are telling him that Gov. McDonnell may be having second thoughts, too:

Governor McDonnell is going to delay the implementation of the ultrasound mandate bill circling like the albatross in Moby Dick. The public doesn’t want it, he doesn’t need it, and there is a iron law of politics: you don’t get selected the VEEP on a winning ticket when Saturday Night Live skits are part of the package put together by a Presidential nominee’s team vetting potential running mates.

I asked McDonnell’s office for comment on these possibilities and got this response from Tucker Martin:

“My only comment is if the General Assembly passes the bill the Governor will review it, in its final form, at that time.”

In other words, “no comment.”

As the saying goes, this is “developing…”

  • Mike Barrett

    Dropping back on one bill will not change the number of skits; in fact, this General Assembly, by ignoring the Governor’s admonition not to overreach, has provided material for skits forever, and even if one of the subjects is pulled, there are many more to choose from.

    Further, if he scuttles one, his base will crucify him; but of course, with all the other intrusions into the personal liberties of his constituents, one bill removed will count very little with those who have become outraged.

    Plus, the damage has already been done. The remarkable ineptness of the republican delegates and senators to understand the depth of the outrage from all segments of society has been the spark to remind moderates and centrists just how much hypocrisy there remains in the republican party. All this blather about removing government intrusiveness, and the threats to our personal liberties, and then they turn around and double down, and reveal that jobs and the ecomony don’t count, social and cultural issues do.

    And these predominately old, white, christian, males have forgotten that our constitution applies to all of us, not just them, and it would behoove them to get out of their enclaves, their churches, and their country clubs and see who else is out there.

  • Nathan Miller

    A post from Mike I can finally agree with.

    I am a young conservative who has voted Republican solidly since I came of age. The GOP, however, needs to realize that they are on the wrong side of social issues with the youth of today. It isn’t your grandparents party anymore!

  • Steve Vaughan

    The governor’s not dumb. This bill is a bridge too far.

  • I always appreciate advice on how conservatives should legislate from the likes of SNL, or people like Mr. Barrett

    The bottom line is that protecting human life is a legitimate function of government. The pro abortion lobby is on the wrong side of history. Their arguments have steadily denigrated into a form of xenophobic, hysteria designed to avoid facts rather then illuminate them.

    I guess, if one were to be very generous, there was some excuse due to a lack of scientific evidence or medical knowledge for supporting abortion on a kind of libertarian front.

    Well unlike global warming, the science really is out on when human life begins, and the left in this country finds itself in the morally bankrupt position of trying to convince us that one set of human beings, apparently incapable of living with the consequences of their sexual actions, should continue to be granted the ability to destroy innocent human life. They then base this wanton disregard for the transcendent value of human life on what?…the transcendent value of the convenience of the person having the abortion.

    Good luck with that argument…

  • Nathan, I have to tell you at 32 I’m not exactly “long in the tooth” but I can tell you this much…I am not all that concerned with pandering to “the youth of today” any more than I am any other demographic.

    I tend to believe in that old fashioned notion that there is such a thing as objective truth and morality as well as logic, reason, etc. Therefore my concern with the “rightness or wrongness” of a policy based off of rational and empirical consideration supersedes abstract notions of what “today’s youth” may or may not approve of.

    If “today’s youth” advocated socialist economic policy I would oppose that as well…not out of some absurd loyalty to “my grandfathers party” (whatever that is) but because I believe the evidence for free market economics is vastly favorable.

    So by all means, make an argument for a policy, but please don’t advocate one way or another based solely off of abstract notions of “popular consensus”…it’s so….left wing.

  • Steve Vaughan

    Nick: I can understand why a pro-life person is for the “personhood” bill. I might not agree, but I get the argument. The ultrasound bill won’t reduce any abortions. It just makes the woman jump through another hoop. And it’s cruel and intrusive hoop. It’s about harassment, it’s not about life.

  • clarke conservative

    For two years the Democrats in Washington fiddled with Obamacare while the economy burned. Now they try to attack Republicans for a couple of bills that protect those most vunerable in society, while accusing the Virginia GOP for not concentrating on the economy.

    I will make a wager, I bet the Republicans in the Virginia Senate and House pass a budget (and a balanced one at that) long before Harry Reid and the Democrats in the US Senate even pass another continuing resolution. Forget a US Senate budget, it is now 1016 days and counting.

    I am very proud of my State Senator, Jill Vogel, for sponsoring SB484.

  • reality

    pro choice folks don’t like the ultrasound because it forces them to confront reality and REALLY make a choice to end a life. You’re trying to tell us a little “intrusion” in an already intruded space (unless it was immaculate conception) is too much to bear before making the decision to end your childs life? Priorities?

  • Nathan Miller

    I think the GOP should be a bit concerned with the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs of the young Republicans who are the future of our party and our nation. Too often the establishment bends over backwards to maintain the status quo for fear of losing their grip on power. One only has to look at the current bills that were championed by the GOP and are now languishing before ultimate defeat and have become fodder for SNL.

    This bill is an overreach by any measure. We are either the party of limited government or we are no better than the socialists on the left. The GOP, and government as a whole, needs to stay out of the wombs of women and the bedrooms of all citizens. For some reason, the current group legislators are fascinated with both.

  • clarke conservative

    In 1995 Gallup Polling stated 56% of the population was Pro-Choice and 33% was Pro-Life. In 2009 47% was Pro-Life and 46% was Pro-Choice.

    This has come about because more people are being convinced a fetus is more than a couple of cells. An ultrasound, even at 8 weeks from conception, shows a beating heart, head, eyes, arms, etc.

    The truth is what liberals are so afraid of. This bill is NOT an overreach, it is an opportunity for a mother to see she is carrying a child, not an inconvenience.

  • Tim J

    Mike, “And these predominately old, white, christian, males..”. Isn’t Sen. Vogel a female and the chief patron of the “Ultrasound” bill?

  • JayD

    OK … now exactly how is the party spinning this quick reversal? Was HB1 intended to lay the groundwork for future restrictions on abortion and contraception (hooray says the far right base) or is it as Delegate Yost explains on the other post [HB462 Is Not Going Away]:

    (Yost) “…you can plainly see in the bill the many exceptions to ensure that HB 1 has no effect on abortion, birth control, or assisted contraception.”

    Guess us dumb voters got it all wrong … we didn’t understand the bills. According to Del. Yost, HB1 /HB462 was the good guys (republicans) just trying to help women sue for loss of fetus after a car accident and become better ‘informed’.

    As much as BD might hate it, Mike Barrett’s comment hits the sweet spot. This was a BIG mistake and will be costly in the upcoming elections. Oh, the bases will vote as expected for the most part, but those damn independents and right/left leaner types will remember this. And IF they forget, you can bet your sweet bippy the ad guys won’t.


  • Steve – this is an ultrasound women should do anyway for their own health.

    According to the National Abortion Federation’s clinical guidelines for ultrasounds, see page 9&10 –

    A female colleague of mine explained to me that the reason why it should be mandated, even if it is standard medical practice, is because of the abortionists who do not follow standard medical practice are endangering their patients.

    The reality is that anti-lifers don’t really object to the ultrasound – otherwise they’d be against this practice – they object to women having the chance to see the ultrasounds.

  • Nathan Miller

    I think the “anti-lifers” object to the government get between a woman and her doctor.

    The conservative “anti-lifers” object because we truly believe in small government.

  • Nathan – you clearly missed political science class. Republicans are for limited government – not no government. We support the rule of law and the protection of those who cannot protect themselves – such as the unborn. If that doesn’t make sense to you, you’re in the wrong party.

  • Loudoun Republican

    “The ultrasound bill won’t reduce any abortions.”

    Absolutely wrong. Studies have shown that a large number of women seeking an abortion change their mind when shown an ultrasound of their baby.

    That’s why the left is fighting this bill so hard. They know that when a woman is allowed to look upon the life growing in her womb, it no longer becomes “just a lump of cells” as the pro-abortion crowd likes to say.

  • JayD – the party can spin it as much as they want. Here, we plan on holding anyone who does that accountable. I will make it my personal goal in life to oppose anyone who backtracks on something merely because of the “optics” – especially when it’s an already accepted practice. This is clearly Democratic spin that even those on the right are buying into.

  • Nathan Miller

    That sums up the image problem the GOP has had for years. Welcome to our party…as long as you agree with us 100% of the time.

  • Loudoun Republican

    “That sums up the image problem the GOP has had for years. Welcome to our party…as long as you agree with us 100% of the time.”

    Oh, please, Nathan. The very fact that we have these fights out in the open just goes to prove that the Republican Party is open to people who believe in limited government, but have different beliefs on other issues. It is the Democratic Party that shuts down all dissent.

    When is the last time you saw a Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Anti-Union Democrat given any sort of prominent role in the Democratic party?

  • Nathan – give me a break and spare me the petulance. LR is right. We have a big tent party. We discuss these things. You want to be pro-choice – fine. But I don’t have to accept that.

  • Nathan Miller

    I don’t agree with you…so I must be in the wrong party…that, my friend, does not sound like ‘big tent’ ideals to me.

    Back the crux of the matter…I’m pro-life. I strongly believe that abortions are morally wrong. However, it is not my place, and it is certainly not the government’s place, to dictate morals to the populace. The fact of the matter is this was an overreach of epic proportions, that as soon as the legislators realized it was going to cost them their jobs, they backed off.

  • No…you continue to say that government has no role in protecting innocent life. I find that morally objectionable. I’m not kicking you out of the party, I am saying your view is not in concert with a majority of it. You might be happier in the other one…or as a libertarian, which is what you most sound like. Go Ron Paul!

  • Nice “big tent” attitude, JR. It’s thinking like that that is killing the Republican party.

  • MD Russ

    Ummm…isn’t charges that he was pro-choice and anti-gun in Massachusetts the biggest sea anchor on Mitt Romney right now?

  • JayD

    Oh for Christ sake … don’t you zealots ever read your own links beyond the headlines??!!!!
    @ Clark, go back and read the damn poll again. Pay particular attention to the data points on the legality question. Those numbers haven’t moved squat since 1960.

    It’s one thing to call yourself pro-life and quite another to overturn Roe v Wade. When Gallup posed THAT question, 60% of all Americans said “no” to overturning Roe. A year later an AP survey came in w/ a similar 61%.

    @Louden, cite your sources please. The only reference I can find re: studies is below AND it reports there have been NO studies in the US on this. Again, sources please or admit you pulled this comment out of your arse.
    In one of the few studies of the issue — there have been none in the United States — two abortion clinics in British Columbia found that 73 percent of patients wanted to see an image if offered the chance. Eighty-four percent of the 254 women who viewed sonograms said it did not make the experience more difficult, and none reversed her decision. That generally has also been the case in Alabama, which enacted its law, the first of its kind in the United States, in 2002. “About half of women opt to view them,” said Diane Derzis, who owns the Birmingham clinic. “And I’ve never had one patient get off the table because she saw what her fetus looks like.” In some instances, the ultrasounds have affected women in ways not intended by anti-abortion strategists. Because human features may barely be detectable during much of the first trimester, when 9 of 10 abortions are performed, some women find viewing the images reassuring. …
    The National Abortion Federation, which sets quality standards for abortion providers, does not require ultrasounds in the first trimester. But many clinics routinely perform them to look for anomalies and to establish a precise gestational age, which can determine the method of extraction.

    @JD – good for you! We obviously disagree but I absolutely respect anyone who calls out hypocrisy even when it comes from his own party. Kudos! And FWIW, I thought Del. Yost’s ‘explanation’ was a crock of manure also.

    @Louden – Oh please. And when was the last time you saw a pro-gay union, pro-choice, or for-reasonable gun laws republican play ANY sort of prominent role in the Republican Party? They either don’t last very long (like Gov. Huntsman) OR they have a come-to-Jesus moment and see the light before the campaign starts (like Romney). The last time we had anything close to actual big-tent was Bush 41 and that didn’t last very long.

  • Jerry Zeigler

    Governor is not a prominent role?

  • Jerry Zeigler

    I seem to recall that a Republican Senator or two are pro choice.

  • reality

    Who is paying for these abortions? Can you pay for an abortion out of your own pocket and not follow these rules? Whats to debate. Man with the gold rules. Reality.

  • JayD

    @Jerry- which governor?

  • Susan G

    Aww, things ain’t going well for the Party of Limited Government. Who would have thought?

  • Susan G

    I told you….all weekend long…..did you listen?…..No….
    You, Bearing Boys, knew better. You were on the side of “Righteousness.” I guess most folks of the Old Dominion just doesn’t see things the way you and yours do.
    What will the Governor do? Hmph…Hmph…Hmph

  • Mike

    I am 100% Pro-Life and find this legislation to be ridiculous.

  • For the 1000th time. If you all don’t like this procedure, then tell the abortion community to stop doing it. If not, then at least let the mother SEE the sonogram that pro-borts got by shoving a probe in there.

    That is all this bill is. Letting the woman see the results of the probing the pro-borts are doing anyway.

  • Oh, and if you tell the abortion community to stop doing it, suddenly the abortion becomes much more unsafe.

  • Susan G

    JR, have you been drinking? I couldn’t follow.

  • JayD

    Hate to pour salt on the wound, but if anyone deserves a told-ya-so crow moment, it’s Ms. Susan G!

  • Susan G

    Thank you, JayD, as I take my bow.

  • ToR

    It’s ironic that the same people who support preventing access to birth control (which prevents unwanted pregnancies and abortions) are the same people who are anti abortion.

    If you want to eliminate abortions get every woman on birth control and every guy using condoms. Of course, I know talking about sex is a little difficult for many social conservatives so that might not be possible.

  • BearManPig

    Or we can talk about tampons if you want Cheep-cheep.

    Looks like Peter Gleick may do some prison time. YES !!!

  • I have no problem with birth control. It has served me well for more than 20 years. And, I’m a protestant.

    Susan G – if you can’t follow what I was saying than you haven’t been paying attention.

    The reality is that this procedure is already one in which the pro-abortion crowd thinks is necessary to have a safe abortion. I don’t see where mandating the woman to actually see the results of the sonogram is really a problem.

  • Bill Goose

    I want to see Susan G demonstrate the thing with the toy again. She gets paid a dollar each time.

  • You know, Susan G, you really have a passion for your position.

    It’s grounded in freedom and liberty for a woman – I totally accept and appreciate that.

    Forcible violation of anyone is revolting – and I oppose that. However, when abortionists require a procedure in order to more effectively conduct an abortion, is it wrong to make it mandatory to protect the health of the mother?

    Is it then wrong for the mother to see and hear the results of this sonogram for her to make a more informed decision?

    I’m not a disgusting human being. I don’t relish any of this discussion. My preference is that people do use birth control. That they’re smart about their relationships.

    But, if one woman sees the sonogram – one in which is already advocated as the best procedure by the National Abortion Federation – and she changes her mind because of it, is that so wrong?

    I hope you will forgive me for my passion for life.

  • MBM

    Jim, thank you for standing up for innocent life. We don’t fight for these things because they are easy; we fight for them because it is the right thing to do. The pro-abortion crowd is the living legacy of the hippie generation that has taught “if it feels good; do it” and “blame our parents.”

  • No v. Wade

    The thing that bugs me most about this debate is the denigration of anyone who doesn’t support this bill as “pro-abortion” or a “baby killer”. Let’s be 100% honest, outside those who make money providing abortions, which is a minute part of the population, no one is truly out there advocating for women to go out and get pregnant for the sole purpose of receiving an abortion. An abortion is a major invasive procedure and should not be taken lightly by anyone. Contrary to popular belief and the talking points from some posting comments on here, being against this bill does not make someone “pro abortion” necessarily.

    I am against this bill because at the end of the day, it is a medically unnecessary procedure that the government is forcing people to undergo despite the unique conditions that affect each person that chooses to receive an abortion which is a perfectly legal procedure according to the Supreme Court. We might not agree with the SCOTUS, but that’s the nature of our government and our Constitution and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We can argue all day long about whether or not a woman SHOULD receive this procedure prior to an abortion, and there are some medical merits and compelling arguments out there in favor of it. However, the principle that this violates in my book is that of limited government. The government has crossed a line by compelling an individual to undergo a medically unnecessary procedure (albeit possibly a recommended procedure). Remember the HPV vaccinations these same individuals on the right kicked and screamed about? There is no difference here except now it deals with a procedure linked to abortions instead of a procedure linked to public health.

    Further more, in the realm of protection of life, pre natal care is not mandated and I can show you study after study that proves that pre natal care is vital to the developmental health of a baby. Why not go ahead and mandate basic pre natal care that all mothers must under go? This is a slippery slope to start going down and as of now, the government only compels medical procedures in the most drastic situations or to combat threats to public health (ie vaccinations). Its a slippery slope because I’m sure we can all think of great healthy practices that everyone should be undergoing such as a basic physical annually, routine dental appointments, etc. But do we really want the government to start to dictate what those great medical practices are that every person is compelled by the force of the government to undergo? That thought frankly scares the hell out of me.

    Now, even if the medical community were to support this as a best practice we must still pose the question whether or not the GOVERNMENT has a right to start compelling people to under go specific medical procedures. The issue those who support this bill keep skirting, in my opinion, is that of shall versus may. I’ve read many comments here that an ultrasound is a good thing and that mothers should see the baby prior to any decision, and even that planned parent hood recommends this procedure. That’s all great. BUT, even in all those points there is still the element of a choice. This bill is the government taking choice away and compelling a medical procedure despite the unique medical conditions and concerns of every patient that chooses to receive an abortion. If this law weren’t about abortion, and were compelling everyone to receive a different procedure, I would be just as heated in my opposition to it. However, because this deals with abortion, there is a split opinion on the right because of many people’s opposition to abortion itself and there viewing this is another back door means to restrict access to it. Which is fine, but I won’t compromise my small government principles when its convenient no matter how popular it may be at the time.

    As a compromise, I would offer that prior to any abortion, a doctor must disclose to the mother that she does have the option to undergo an ultra sound, and that it is recommended by the doctor to do so (assuming it isn’t due to the woman’s unique medical circumstances), and that until the woman either receives an ultra sound or signs a form waiving the procedure, she cannot attain an abortion. It adds the extra step and brings to the attention of the woman the benefits of an ultra sound.


  • BearManPig

    Was a pretty dawn. Much better then the day after Obamacare was passed. Think I will go out and enjoy the warm weather. I am fairly certain that “The Virginia Vagina Wars” will still be raging whenever I come back.

  • Sara

    @ No v. Wade 06:14 am

    Right on!

  • Thoughts? Planned Parenthood does perform ultrasounds for abortions.

    Are you saying they should stop?

  • Relevant quote from history for the pro-abortion folks – “Repealing slavery would take my choice away”

  • I’m trying to wrap my head around some of the debate here. For those supporting the bill, is the selling point for you more about 1) health care, and the state requiring a procedure that is believed to be medically responsible, 2) persuading women against going through with an abortion, or 3) a mixture of both?

  • Jason, the clear point of the bill is to dissuade women from having an abortion.

  • Mike Barrett

    Brians, keep posting; then listen for the sound of feet running over to the other side.

  • ToR


    Just because you think the procedure is necessary to have a safe abortion doesn’t mean that it is scientifically or medically necessary to have a safe abortion.

    You’re simply trying to prevent women the right to terminate their pregnancy. It’s a right afforded to them by the Supreme Court, right or wrong, it is what it is.

  • JayD

    @No v Wade ~Thumbs up!

    @JR, if you support contraception please take a second look (w/ an open mind) at emergency contraception and then at Bob Marshall’s dogged attempts to deny access to the women attending VA colleges. Expanding access to emergency contraception will absolutely reduce the number of terminated pregnancies each year.

    We all have our own set of core principals. Dishonesty and deception tops my personal list and it’s a good bet that 95% of Americans would agree with me. I believe VERY strongly that the power we grant elected officials REQUIRES a law mandating “nothing but the truth & the whole truth” & mandatory jail time for lying while in office. When the powerful lie lives are negatively impacted and people can die (Iraq). The American compromise, unfortunately, is to criminalize the lie if made under oath (perjury) but otherwise let people choose their own moral path. A restrained position that acknowledges the state has an interest, but only a limited one – not all that different from current abortion law. The state regulates (conditions) and its right to intervene grows w/ fetal viability.

    @ Nathan, no worries. If Larry Sabato is correct, the change-in-demographic train left the station years ago and by the end of this decade Republicans won’t be able to win elections w/ our currently older, whiter, evangelical, male, social right-wing base. The party will have to revert back to pre-Jerry Falwell days or die.

  • Chefsalad

    Maybe the more compelling problem I have is that these bills are NOT what most Republicans elected this new General Assembly to push. By and large the these delegates and senators ran their last elections on creating jobs, lower taxes, economic growth, education, and transportation (we have not got it made in Virginia when it comes to roads!!)

    What we seemed to get was a new idea that said, “hey, with the slimmest possible margin in the senate, let’s pass a bunch of social agenda items while nobody is paying attention” As we can see here on this forum, there is significant dispute on the Republican side of these debates, no less across the entire Commonwealth. Even if these bills don’t become law and are swept away as quickly as possible by Gov. McDonnell, they will likely hurt some of these officials when either more fiscally minded Republicans, Tea Party/Libertarian Republican-supporters, or Democratic candidates point out that there it seems disingenuous to run on lower taxes and jobs and to mostly debate bills about intrusive vaginal ultrasounds and whether or not the personhood definition that was soundly defeated in Mississippi should be resurrected here in Virginia.

    Personally, I am offended by the dishonesty of my representatives for NOT making jobs, taxes, roads, schools, and economic development the MAJOR PRIORITIES for this session. It is exactly WHY I DID vote for my candidate…but I won’t vote for my delegate OR my senator again, as they have both attached themselves to these social issues without lifting a finger (so far) to address real problems that are effecting ALL VIRGINIANS.

    If they had run on the issues of personhood, anti-abortion, intrusive ultrasounds, etc. THEY NEVER WOULD HAVE BEEN ELECTED…EVEN here in Virginia.

    People–REMEMBER this state actually supported OBAMA in 2008. Let’s not forget that it COULD happen again if Republicans generally piss off their base of support.

  • Brian Kirwin

    Chef, look at the Senate Democrats who failed to produce a budget for the first time in history because they didn’t like committee assignments.

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