Below is a recent headline from a story in The Economist.
McDonnell’s not-so-magic wand—Accusations of medical rape dog Virginia’s accident -prone governor
(Above–Bob McDonnell. Photo by Gage Skidmore.)
The story was about the effort to allow state-mandated rape in Virginia with a forced-sonogram bill for women seeking a legally protected abortion.
People in Virginia saw that this was rape and they said so.
“… a requirement pushed through the legislature that women seeking abortions must undergo a vaginal ultrasound test. Making this invasive procedure, involving the insertion of a wand, compulsory is akin, say Democrats and women’s rights advocates, to a sexual assault. The aim, supposedly, is to confront women with the reality of their fetus.”
This state-mandated rape was vetoed in Virginia. Governor Bob McDonnell was concerned not so much about rape, but about the political consequences of signing the bill.
In its place, a bill only slightly less onerous was approved.
“Under the legislation, a woman would be required to undergo an abdominal ultrasound before having an abortion to determine the gestational age. If the information cannot be found that way, the woman would be offered a transvaginal ultrasound and may refuse….”This is only the second time in history Virginia has mandated a medical procedure,” said Sen. Richard L. Saslaw, D-Fairfax. “This law will now stand beside legislation that was passed to forcibly sterilize the severely mentally disabled.”
In Virginia, women are still subject to an unwanted medical procedure, but the state will stop just short of rape.
“Here’s what a woman in Texas now faces if she seeks an abortion. Under a new law that took effect three weeks ago with the strong backing of Gov. Rick Perry, she first must typically endure an ultrasound probe inserted into her vagina. Then she listens to the audio thumping of the fetal heartbeat and watches the fetus on an ultrasound screen. She must listen to a doctor explain the body parts and internal organs of the fetus as they’re shown on the monitor. She signs a document saying that she understands all this, and it is placed in her medical files. Finally, she goes home and must wait 24 hours before returning to get the abortion. “It’s state-sanctioned abuse,” said Dr. Curtis Boyd, a Texas physician who provides abortions. “It borders on a definition of rape. Many states describe rape as putting any object into an orifice against a person’s will. Well, that’s what this is. A woman is coerced to do this, just as I’m coerced.”
State-mandated rape is the law in Texas. This rape has nothing to do with preventing abortion. It has to do with the power of the State of Texas to rape women doing something that the state legislature and Governor Rick Perry think should not be done.
What steps are you going to take to change this reality? The work of changing and repealing this law is up to each of us in Texas and anyplace where human rights are a concern.
(Below–Rick Perry. Photo by Gage Skidmore.)
Respecting Women & Pro-Life Policies For Texas Republicans Involves Forced Sonograms And Denying Cancer Screenings
However, here in Texas–despite all the tough talk about intrusive government– such a law is already on the books.
“The original Virginia bill that garnered so much national outrage required doctors to perform a sonogram in advance of the abortion, using a transvaginal ultrasound if necessary, to determine the gestational age of the fetus. After originally championing the bill, (Governor) McDonnell walked it back under pressure, working to produce a revised version that assures that women seeking abortions won’t be subject to a vaginal ultrasound. Women will be offered the chance to review the image of the fetus on a belly sonogram, but aren’t required to look at it.
The Texas law is more strict: It requires women to have a sonogram at least 24 hours ahead of an abortion, and the doctor to play the heartbeat aloud, describe the fetus, and show the woman the image, unless she chooses not to view it. Although the Texas law doesn’t specify what kind of ultrasound — belly or transvaginal — abortion providers say they almost always must use the transvaginal probe to pick up the heartbeat. “
In Texas women are at risk from a predatory state government, and from a conservative movement that is always on the prowl for a new conquest in the war against women.
Of course the attacks on Texas women don’t stop with the forced sonogram bill. Not content with forced intrusive procedures by order of the state, Republican legislators and Republican statewide officials are moving in for the kill.
“Texas health officials apparently have chosen to end their participation in the Women’s Health Program, which pays for health screenings for tens of thousands of poor Texas women. Tom Suehs, who heads the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, formally ruled …that Planned Parenthood can’t receive funds from the Women’s Health Program. Federal officials have previously said that state officials couldn’t cut out specific providers. So the state’s decision to exclude Planned Parenthood because it’s an abortion provider could end the Women’s Health Program in Texas and deprive thousands of poor women of services such as Pap smears, cancer screenings and contraception.”
Texas conservatives say they like small government. Yet they pursue some of the most invasive and intrusive polices imaginable.
Texas conservatives say they are “pro-life.” Yet they pursue policies that kill people.
I’ve been reading Albion’s Seed—Four British Folkways In North America. This book was written by David Hackett Fischer.
Here is what I read today in this book about the definition of family in 17th Century Colonial Virgina–
“The word family tended to be a more comprehensive term in Virginia than in Massachusetts. Virginians addressed relatives of all sorts as “coz” or “cousin” in expressions that were heavy with affective meaning; but the term “brother” was used more loosely as a salutation for friends, neighbors, political allies, and even business acquaintances. It is interesting to observe that an extended kin-term tended to be more intimate than the language of a nuclear relationship. The reverse tended to be the case in Massachusetts.”
Fully understanding that this idea of family did not extend to slaves, there is a lot to be said for this concept of family. It’s an idea we can update for the current day. The broader the definition of family, the happier your may be. We are all connected in this life. The people in our immediate nuclear family may or may not be the people we really want around us.
Here is my post “People Have A Right To Define Family Anyway They Wish.” This is a signature post of this blog.
I recently read the following about the State of Virginia in Vernon Parrington’s Pulitzer Prize winning The Romantic Revolution In America 1820-1860—” The navigable rivers of the tidewater region were favorable to the development of a decentralized economics, and despite royal commands to create adequate seaports and heavy taxes….trading towns did not prosper. For two hundred years Virginia refused to create a native middleman group to handle its staples….Each planter insisted on putting hogsheads of tobacco aboard ship at his own wharf, and receiving his merchandise direct from London.”
You can look at the above image of Virginia and see the many rivers on the right hand side of the map. They flow into Chesapeake Bay. Each of those rivers had many inlets and tributaries and this allowed people to set up farms and plantations on navigable waterways. So located, plantation masters could bypass cities and do business for themselves.
However, when I look at the many rivers of Eastern Virginia, what I see is that these rivers flow into the same place. Right into Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Beyond that, the fact is that the distinctions between oceans are man-made, and that all the world’s salt water is connected. Look at this map and you’ll see what I mean.
When folks wanted to protect ill-gotten profits and defend slavery, they saw the world as disconnected. When we are looking for brotherhood and sisterhood, we see that all rivers flow into the same sea.
A so-called swing state in the 2008 election is Virginia. Polls show the race in that state as very close.
Will Barack Obama be able to carry Virgina in 2008? Doing so would make him the first Democrat to carry the state in a Presidential election since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
Yes— Barack Obama will win Virginia in 2008.
The spirit of Richmond, Virginia native Arthur Ashe will lead Senator Obama to victory in Virginia.
Arthur Ashe lived 1943-1993. He died of AIDS likely acquired in a blood transfusion.
Off the court, Mr. Ashe worked hard against South African apartheid, protested poor American treatment of Haitian boat people, addressed the United Nations General Assembly regarding AIDS, and served as Chairman of the American Heart Association.
When he died, Mr. Ashe’s body lied in state at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond. He was first person to receive that honor since Confederate General Stonewall Jackson.
Mr. Ashe always hit the right note of keeping his own identity, while at the same time being a forceful advocate of welcoming and accepting all people. It was clear that when all was said and done, it was the whole human race he was most concerned with.
The spirit of Arthur Ashe will guide and inform Senator Obama as he campaigns in Virginia. The spirit of Arthur Ashe will move the people of Virginia to follow the right course and vote for Senator Obama on Election Day.
(Blogger’s Note 3/7/12—Four years fater this post was written, there have still been only three black post-reconstruction governors. Mr. Paterson is no longer Governor of New York. He did not run for reelection in 2010. Also, Mr. Wilder is no longer Mayor of Richmond. Governor Patrick won reelection as Governor of Massachusetts in 2010. Maybe somebody reading this post can be the next black governor, or will work hard to elect such a person.)
Newly inaugurated New York Governor David Paterson is America’s third black post-reconstruction governor.
Who are the other two black governors in American history and who is Mr. Paterson?
It was only relatively recently that any U.S. State elected a black governor.
It is often difficult to elect a black to statewide office.
Douglas Wilder was elected Governor of Virginia in 1989 and served the one term a Virginia Governor is permitted.
Here is what it is says about Douglas Wilder and Virginia in the 2008 Almanac of American Politics—
In the 1980s, three moderate Democrats were elected governor–Charles Robb in 1981, Gerald Baliles in 1985, Douglas Wilder in 1989–because they no longer represented an attempt to impose a labor-liberal agenda on an unwilling Virginia, and because they argued they could use government effectively to improve education and build Virginia’s economy. Wilder’s election was a national breakthrough, a successful attempt by a black politician to campaign and govern on equal terms. His fiscal conservatism, which resulted in sharp spending cuts in the early 1990s, like his elegant manners and thick Richmond accent, echoes Virginia’s elitist and libertarian tradition; his insistence on the rule of law helped him win election as Richmond’s mayor in 2004.
You can make of that what you will.
The following description of Mr. Wilder is from the Virginia Historical Society–
Lawrence Douglas Wilder was born on January 17, 1931, in Richmond, Virginia. The grandson of slaves, he was named after abolitionist-orator Frederick Douglass and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Wilder attended Richmond’s racially segregated public schools—George Mason Elementary and Armstrong High School. In 1951, he graduated from Virginia Union University with a degree in chemistry. He served in the army during the Korean War, during which he won the Bronze Star for heroism in combat. After the war, Wilder returned to Richmond and worked as a chemist in the state medical examiner’s office. Using the benefits provided under the G.I. Bill of Rights, he studied law at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He received his degree in 1959 and after passing the bar in Virginia established his own law firm, Wilder, Gregory, and Associates.
In 1969, Wilder entered politics, running in a special election for the Virginia state senate. He won and became the first African American state senator in Virginia since Reconstruction. Wilder spent ten years in the General Assembly and was recognized as one of its most effective legislators.
Mr. Wilder is the current Mayor of Richmond, Virgina. Here is his homepage as Mayor.
In Massachusetts, Deval Patrick was elected in 2006 as the second black Governor.
Here is information about Governor Patrick from the Almanac.
“Patrick grew up in a tough South Side Chicago neighborhood, and lived in an apartment where he shared a single room with his mother and sister; his father left the family when he was a child. As early as grade school he showed tremendous promise and a teacher recommended him to A Better Chance, an organization that identifies and sends gifted minority students to college preparatory schools. Patrick received a scholarship and was sent far from home to the tony Milton Academy in Massachusetts. “[It] was like coming to a different planet,” Patrick would later say. He attended Harvard College and after graduating spent a year working in Africa on a United Nations project in the Darfur region of Sudan. When he returned, he enrolled at Harvard Law School and then clerked for a federal appeals court judge in Los Angeles. In 1983, he joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New York and in 1986 Patrick went into private law practice; in 1994, he was appointed as the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights by President Bill Clinton. After three years in that post, Patrick returned to private practice in 1997 and later served as general counsel for Texaco and Coca-Cola…. Patrick was a long-shot in his first-ever run for elected office but his grassroots campaign quickly built support among liberal activists who liked his outsider message and his criticism of the state’s “backroom” political culture. He won the state party endorsement at its June 2006 convention, and after holding a steady lead in the polls throughout the summer, won the nomination decisively in the September 19 primary….Republican nominee was Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, who sought to become the state’s first female governor….Patrick pointed to his credentials as a Justice Department prosecutor and highlighted his executive-level experience at two Fortune 500 companies as evidence of his business-friendly background. Late in the campaign, Patrick was put on the defensive when Healey’s campaign ran tough ads criticizing him for his advocacy on behalf of convicted rapist Benjamin LaGuer. Patrick declined to respond with an aggressive counterattack, insisting that his success so far was the result of avoiding such conventional political tactics. His instincts proved correct: the ensuing publicity surrounding the negative ads—which featured a woman walking alone in a parking garage—muted the charges that Patrick would weaken criminal justice laws. He won a sweeping 56%-35% victory….In office, Patrick set about unraveling ( former Governor Mitt) Romney’s initiatives. He restored $383.6 million in budget cuts made by Romney, rescinded an agreement with the federal government that empowered the state police to arrest illegal immigrants, and put the brakes on a Romney administration plan to revamp the state’s automobile insurance system. He refused to sign a proclamation commemorating February 6, the late president’s birthday, as “Ronald Reagan Day.” But Patrick’s honeymoon period ended quickly as a series of missteps tarnished his image. Lavish spending on his official state car, helicopter travel, a renovation of the governor’s office that included $12,000 drapes and the hiring of a chief of staff for his wife led to weeks of bad press and harsh criticism. In March, Patrick acknowledged making a telephone call to Robert Rubin of Citigroup, which has significant business interests in the state, on behalf of the controversial mortgage lender Ameriquest; Patrick had served on Ameriquest’s parent company’s board of directors as recently as 2006. “
Governor David Paterson of New York State has been in office for just a short time since taking over for the disgraced Eliot Spitzer.
(Below–David Paterson. Photo by MMR Dad)
Here is some information about Mr. Paterson from the New York Times–
David A. Paterson was elected lieutenant governor of New York in November 2006, a position with no power and little prestige, then propelled into the governorship by Eliot Spitzer’s shocking fall from power after the revelation of his involvement with a prostitution ring. Taking office on March 17, 2008, Mr. Paterson became New York’s first African-American governor, and the first legally blind person to serve as the governor of any state….As the leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate, Mr. Paterson tried to make up for his lack of power with wit, flurries of reform proposals and unusual bursts of candor, a combination that has made him a quotable presence in a Capitol where such leaders are often ignored as irrelevant….Mr. Paterson was born to politics. His father, Basil, represented the same Harlem district that his son later did, and ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1970. The younger Mr. Paterson was raised at the knees of much of Harlem’s old guard. He also grew up legally blind, after an infection as an infant that left him totally without sight in his left eye and with severely limited sight in his right. His family moved to Long Island, where they found a school that agreed to educate him in regular classrooms. He graduated from high school in three years, went to college at Columbia and graduated from Hofstra Law School.