Metro Weekly

Too High a Price

Less than two months after taking control in Richmond, Virginia Republicans have launched outrageous and dangerous attacks on women and gays

Living in Virginia comes with a price.

First, though, there are the benefits, the most important of which is that it makes my husband happy. Also, a lot of my in-laws live in the area and while I know that doesn’t appeal to everyone, the rural Kentucky boy still living inside me finds comfort in that.

My neighborhood is more diverse than many of the ones where I lived in D.C. And there are a lot of gay people out here: in my neighborhood, in our businesses, at my gym, everywhere you turn. You can’t forget that Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax simply aren’t the same Virginia as Lynchburg and Roanoke.

Which brings us back to the price: We live under a state government that is frankly batshit crazy.

Naturally, I’m upset that Republicans in the General Assembly have passed a bill allowing adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT people and Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has promised to sign it, but it doesn’t fill me with righteous anger. I’m perhaps too accustomed to this kind of crap and somewhat secure in the knowledge that we’re winning the greater battle, which provides a little comfort (though not complacency).

But what has me furious, to the point where I know I would get red in the face if I went into a public tirade, is the Republican effort to force women seeking an abortion to undergo a medically unnecessary ”transvaginal ultrasound” — political speak for probing a woman’s vagina with a medical device without her consent in order to shame and dissuade her from having an abortion.

Gov. McDonnell had promised to sign the bill into law, but with a national furor rising over a law that opponents have without hyperbole compared to governmental rape, he appears to be slowly stepping away from the issue. As the Washington Post reported Wednesday, ”But delegates and governor’s staff were scheduled to meet Tuesday night to strike a compromise after learning that some ultrasounds could be more invasive than first thought, according to two officials who were aware of the meeting but not authorized to speak about it publicly. Many of the bill’s supporters were apparently unaware of how invasive the procedure could be, one of the officials added.”

Yeah, Republicans had no idea that sticking a large medical probe into a woman’s vagina without her consent would be invasive.

So the Republican-led Virginia that sued the federal government because it believes the health care reform individual mandate to buy health insurance is an unconscionable violation of personal liberty and freedom wants to enshrine a law requiring the forcible penetration of women without their consent — and this can’t be repeated enough — for no medical purpose whatsoever.

Republicans have only been in full control of the General Assembly in Richmond since January, and we already have transvaginal probes, a bill defining a just-fertilized egg as a person (a step so radical even Mississippi voters rejected it last year), and an attack on gay and lesbian families.

It’s time to call your state representatives (if you’re from Alexandria, you can thank our only openly gay legislator Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) for fighting the good fight). It’s time to call the governor’s office. It’s time to pay attention to the insanity that’s passing for politics in Richmond. And it’s time to start planning to vote these people out at the earliest opportunity.

This Republican-led government is too high a price to pay for being a Virginian.

Sean Bugg is Editor Emeritus for Metro Weekly.