This article was updated on February 21, 2011 with the following information:
According to Delegate David Englin the Virginia GOP is suddenly “running scared of their own social agenda.”
According to Englin, the Senate version of the Senate Bill 484 (forced ultrasound bill) was scheduled for debate and final vote today, but House Republicans again made a motion to push off by another day both the debate and the vote. The same happened for Senate Bill 349, the so-called “conscience clause” bill that allows state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against LGBT families and youth.House Democrats then attempted a parliamentary maneuver that would have killed the ultrasound bill forever, but that failed on a party-line vote. Therefore, both bills are now scheduled for debate and vote tomorrow.
Next week, Virginia Delegate David Englin (D-45) plans to change the conversation around the forced transvaginal ultrasound bill (or as we believe it is more accurately described, the state-sanctioned rape bill) next week by addressing its potental criminality under Virginia’s object sexual penetration statute.
“[object sexual penetration] is a new issue I plan to raise when we debate the Senate version of this bill next week. But surely decent people who disagree about a woman’s right to choose can at least agree she shouldn’t be vaginally penetrated without her consent.”
Englin told RH Reality Check:
“If it becomes law as it’s currently written, the ultrasound mandate being pushed by anti-choice Virginia Republicans would subject women to a medically-unnecessary invasion of their bodies without their consent. That’s a moral outrage that every decent person should oppose, regardless of partisan politics. Worse still, it appears as if the lack of any consent requirement would turn doctors into criminals by compelling them to commit object sexual penetration, which is a heinous sex crime under Virginia law.”
The law he cites:
§ 18.2-67.2. Object sexual penetration; penalty.
A. An accused shall be guilty of inanimate or animate object sexual penetration if he or she penetrates the labia majora or anus of a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, other than for a bona fide medical purpose, or causes such complaining witness to so penetrate his or her own body with an object or causes a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, to engage in such acts with any other person or to penetrate, or to be penetrated by, an animal, and
1. The complaining witness is less than 13 years of age, or
2. The act is accomplished against the will of the complaining witness, by force, threat or intimidation of or against the complaining witness or another person, or through the use of the complaining witness’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness. (emphasis mine).
The punishment can be up to life in prison but no less than five years.
Englin is hoping to get enough Virginia Republican lawmakers to see the light, that this bill causes women to suffer sexual assault and makes doctors criminals. But even if they do see the light, unless something changes, the bill is still going to pass. Englin’s hope is to make a “horrible law less horrible” by at least requiring a woman to give her consent prior to being vaginally penetrated. Englin tried to add a consent amendment to the bill already; it was, however, voted down.
Speaking to the larger issue of the right-wing’s war on women Englin said:
“Even without the vaginal penetration mandate in this bill, the remaining provisions are designated to stop women from having abortions through a combination of logistical barriers and emotional blackmail.”
Governor McDonnell appeared yesterday to back off his clear intent to sign the bill. Englin said that although he found that interesting he doesn’t believe it will make a difference and McDonnell will surely sign it.
But, Englin said that shouldn’t deter anyone from fighting back against this bill:
“Call everyone in Virginia that you know, call the Governor’s office, call your legislator,” he went on to say, “In my heart of hearts I don’t believe anyone thinks that this [forced penetration] violation of women is right.”
Englin said he only needs to get 19 Republicans to come around to his way of thinking to get the trans-vaginal mandate out of the bill.
Although he won’t go as far as to call the bill a form of state-sanctioned rape, he said he understood why people would justifiably view it as such.
Englin urged media to to keep “fanning the flames” regarding the Virginia bill and all anti-woman legislation around the country. Mr. Englin believes this will help educate the public and continue to “rightfully inflame them.”