Virginia must really be desperate to distinguish itself as a place where nobody with a uterus wants to live, because yesterday their House of Delegates passed not one but two insanely restrictive anti-abortion bills, which are both heading pretty directly toward becoming law. You can choose which one you find more outrageous: the personhood bill or the bill that requires ladies to get an unnecessary vaginal probing before they're allowed to have an abortion.
The personhood bill passed the Republican-controlled House of Delegates with a vote of 66-32. Like similar measures in other states, the bill would change the law to expand the meaning of person to include "from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development," thereby effectively outlawing abortion and creating other problems for contraception and women's health in general. Measures along the same lines have been shot down previously in Mississippi and Colorado, though this differs slightly in that it doesn't require a constitutional amendment.
The bill will now head to the Senate, where it has failed in years past, when Democrats controlled the body. But this time power is evenly split between the two parties, and the tie-breaking vote lies with the Republican Lieutenant Governor. It stands a pretty good chance of surviving the Senate, and if it did so it'd be the first such measure to be passed by both chambers in any state. To give you an idea of which way the Senate leans, they passed another bill yesterday that would allow wrongful death suits to be filed against those who kill a fetus. So, things don't exactly look rosy on this front.
In an effort to totally go for broke in the competition to be the most embarrassing state in the union, the House also passed, by a vote of 63-36, a bill that requires a woman to have a transvaginal ultrasound before she can have an abortion. Yeah, not just an over-the-abdomen procedure like you see on TV—the kind where they actually stick a wand up your hoohaa and then try to convince you that, in fact, you really don't want that abortion after all. It would be an unprecedented and crazy overreach by the government. As Democratic Delegate Charnielle Herring said on the House floor, "We're talking about inside a woman's body. This is the first time, if we pass this bill, that we will be dictating a medical procedure to a physician." Yes, it sounds like something out of a terrifying sci-fi movie, but we have to do it—because it makes our Supreme Leader the Baby Jesus happy.
Now that the House has had its way with it, this too will head to the Senate. A companion bill, proposed by Sen. Jill Vogel, has already passed the chamber. You might remember it because of the genius amendement that Democrat Janet Howell tried (but ultimately failed) to attach which would have required men to get rectal exams before they could get prescriptions for Viagra. So the ultrasound bill will almost certainly become law.