With the Virginia state legislature now locked in a battle over the budget, Virginia Democrats seem to have figured something out about this politics thing. Namely, the budget battle is boring. But that mandatory, state-ordered vaginal probe thing initially backed by Governor Bob McDonnell and his Republicans -- that's really, really interesting.
Yesterday, long after Republicans backed off the vaginal probe part of the bill, Virginia Senate Democrats renewed their call to at least have the state pay for the unnecessary belly ultrasounds. From their letter (pdf), which is pointedly addressed to McDonnell:
Not only does this legislation seriously impinge on a doctor’s authority and undermines the doctor-patient relationship, it imposes, through government fiat, an unnecessary financial cost on women.
In our budget priorities, we have sought to remedy this situation by mandating insurance coverage of the ultrasounds and/or having the Commonwealth pay for the ultrasounds. While this will not change the inappropriateness of the legislation, it will, at least, ameliorate the financial burden.
Back in February, when the Virginia Senate passed the bill, Republicans voted down a string of amendments that would have dealt with how women would pay for the test which the state now mandates they have. Word out of the Virginia Capitol is that Democrats may have lost on the ultrasound bill, but they're not about to let this issue go.
See also: Democrats in Pennsylvania, where Republican Governor Tom Corbett said that state's mandatory ultrasound bill is no big deal as long as it's not one of those probe things. And even though the screen would be pointed at the woman, she wouldn't have to look at it, Corbett said. "I don't know how you make anybody watch," he told reporters. "You just have to close your eyes."
(Video above: Virginia Democratic Party)