Silent Protest Outside, Virginia House Puts Off Ultrasound Vote

2012 Feb. 20 • Silent Protest for Women's Rights • Virginia State Capitol • Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger on Vimeo.

Update: Lawmakers in Virginia put off a final vote Tuesday on a highly contested bill that would require women in the eastern US state to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound prior to an abortion.

Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, a Roman Catholic father of five, was poised to swiftly sign the so-called "informed consent" bill -- adopted by the state senate earlier this month-- into law.

But a day after 1,000 protesters descended on the state capitol in Richmond, the House of Delegates held off on third and final reading of the legislation, leaving open the possibility it might yet be amended or dropped altogether when it comes before the chamber again on Wednesday.

Over 1,000 demonstrators assembled outside of Virginia’s Capitol on Monday. Standing silently in the cold, they lined the walkway used by the legislators who have been voting on -- and voting away -- women's rights in Virginia.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that a bill to require ultrasounds of women about to undergo an abortion was scheduled for passage on Monday, but was pushed back by the House:

With hundreds protesting outside the Capitol, the House of Delegates delayed multiple contentious bills that appeared poised for final passage today.

The chamber pushed back votes on a measure that would require an ultrasound of all women considering an abortion as well as adoption- and gun-related legislation.

`From their Facebook page:

The Capitol ground rules say that we cannot assemble, hold signs, chant, yell or protest. We think silence in the face of this struggle and their unconstitutional rules presents the strongest response to their assault on women. Please come out and stand up for our rights and for the rights of all women in VA to choose the best reproductive route for themselves. These people are used to signs, yelling, chanting etc. It is not new. They are not used to silently being stared at and having to look us in the eye. It gives us the power.

Tuesday, reports indicate that even as women continue to protest at the Capitol, the ultrasound bill is now headed to the Governor:

After garnering national attention and jokes at the state's expense, a bill to require ultrasounds of women about to undergo an abortion will likely head to Gov. Bob McDonnell after final passage in the House of Delegates today.

On Monday, about 1,000 people appeared at the Capitol to oppose the measure as part of a women's rights rally that came together quickly through social media and word of mouth.

Thanks in part to left-leaning political pundits such as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and a satirical take on the issue from "Saturday Night Live," the legislation has made its way into the national spotlight, raising a furor from opponents who see the proposed requirement as wildly invasive.

That's due in part to the fact that trans-vaginal ultrasounds are the only method available to doctors that early in a woman's pregnancy.

A recent poll showed that the majority of Virginians reject the measure. Of those surveyed, 55 percent say they oppose the legislation while 36 percent support it.

Saturday Night Live's The “Really!?! With Seth & Amy” segment took aim at the “personhood” bill from Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, and an ultrasound abortion requirement proposed by Del. Kathy J. Byron, R-Campbell.

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