Herring Introduces Bill To Repeal 'TRAP' Legislation
On 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Leesburg State Sen. Mark Herring also moves to repeal 2011 bill on women's rights, speaks at abortion rights rally.
- January 23, 2013
By Katherine Johnson • Capital News Service
As he joined abortion rights supporters on the state Capitol grounds Tuesday to mark the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, State Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) looked ahead to the future of women’s rights in Virginia with a bill he hopes will repeal Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws enacted in 2011.
A crowd of a few hundred gathered to listen to Virginia legislators in support of women’s rights on the anniversary of the the landmark case that decided a woman’s right to privacy includes the right to have an abortion. Among them: Herring and fellow Democratic Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31st), whose district includes Great Falls and Potomac Falls High School.
Herring said "in 2011, the Republicans did real damage to Virginia’s women by passing burdensome regulations on health care centers that provide services to thousands of women across the Commonwealth."
“Now that the damage is done, they say they don’t want to discuss these issues again. Well we don’t accept that. We are going to fight to fix what they have done," said Herring, considered a candidate for the Democratic nomination for attorney general.
The rally served as a reminder to women’s rights and reproductive rights advocates to continue their efforts, especially after last year’s turbulent General Assembly session, when legislators introduced and passed bills that received national attention and controversy.
Last year’s House Bill 1, sponsored by Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, would have redefined “personhood” to include unborn children. The bill was tabled until this year.
Last session’s HB 462 originally required women to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound before an abortion. At the request of Gov. Bob McDonnell, the bill was amended to require an external ultrasound and was signed into law in March.
“In the past few General Assembly sessions, we have passed terrible legislation: the ultrasound bills, the TRAP legislation and accompanying regulations, and the 24-hour waiting period before a woman can access an abortion," Favola wrote in a statement released by her office after the rally. "These mandates are intended to intimidate and demean a woman, simply because some people feel that they can force their agenda on us as though we can’t make personal decisions for ourselves.”
Dr. Karen Remley, the former state health commissioner, was on hand for the rally. Remley resigned from her position in October after the state implemented new abortion clinic regulations. She said she never dreamed she’d have to attend a rally to defend Roe v. Wade.
“How we choose what we do and when we do it is something we should be able to do on our own, collaborating with our family, our friends and our physician,” she said in her speech.
“Roe v. Wade is a very … essential and important element, but it is a much bigger issue than pro-choice. It is, ‘Where are women in our society, and how do we stand as equals next to every man there is in the world?’ ” Remley said.
Favola said the rally has important implications for the future.
“You are paving the way for our daughters and our sisters and for the generations that come behind us,” she told the crowd.
Favola also offered her thoughts how one of Virginia’s Founding Fathers would respond to the debate: “Thomas Jefferson would say, ‘My goodness. What the heck has happened to the Commonwealth?’ ”
The Virginia Society for Human Life, an anti-abortion organization, issued its own statement regarding the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Since 1973, there have been more than 55 million abortions in the United States, including more than 500,000 in Virginia, the group said.
“Abortion has become a tragic response to the needs of too many women facing a complex pregnancy,” the statement added.
Olivia Gans Turner, the society’s president, said abortion “has risks both physical and emotional for the mothers of these children.”
“VSHL remains committed to protecting the lives of the unborn, those with disabilities and the elderly under the law,” Gans Turner said. She said the society wants to ensure that women “obtain all the facts before making this life and death decision.”
[Capital News Service in an entity of Virginia Commonwealth University.]
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