Indiana Daily Student

Virginia, WTF?


ill someone please explain what’s happening to Virginia?

Last week, the Old Dominion state showed just how out of touch its way of thinking is.

In a widely publicized move, the vehemently pro-life state congress of Virginia attempted to pass a bill requiring that all women considering abortions must undergo “trans-vaginal” ultrasounds, which require a long metal probe to be inserted into a woman’s vagina.

Many called it the “state-sponsored rape” law, and thousands protested it both silently outside of Virginia’s statehouse and nationally with petitions and forums.

The backlash was so great that Virginia lawmakers withdrew support for the measure Friday, claiming that state congressional backers of the law didn’t understand the full scope of the bill they supported.

That’s comforting.

It’s always reassuring to hear that elected representatives would back a bill such as this without even understanding what it entails.

The bill has now been changed to require a less invasive abdominal ultrasound, but the problem remains. On the heels of the controversial womanless contraception council in Congress, Virginia is reigniting the national flame when it comes to women’s health issues.

This is the same state that recently passed a gun law allowing state employees to bring firearms to work as long as they’re left in a container in the car, and it was passed in the interest of greater personal freedom.

As a state, they’re straddling a line that’s hard to understand.

People can buy as many guns as they’d like and take them almost anywhere they want because that’s their right, but women can’t get an abortion, even an early term one, without being subjected to a medical procedure against their will.

Virginia also recently passed a law that allows adoption agencies to refuse adoptions to gay parents on the basis of their sexuality.

They’re considering a “personhood” amendment in 2013, which would declare that life starts at the moment of conception and that an embryo should be given the full constitutional rights of every U.S. citizen.

This seems to be directly on the path to laws like those considered in Nebraska and South Dakota, which would make the killing of abortion providers “justifiable homicide.”

What Virginia fails to realize is that finding a solution to abortions and other social issues doesn’t start with stricter mandates on them. Indeed, creating controversy only fuels the debate, which we, as a nation, cannot seem to compromise on.

Lowering the abortion rate specifically starts with addressing the problem of who, exactly, is getting pregnant in the first place and why.

Early term abortions are most common among lower-income women, with 42 percent accounted for by women below 100 percent of the national poverty line (those making below $10,830 per year).

Half of unintended pregnancies occur among women who are at risk for pregnancy but not using contraceptives.

Moreover, about 61 percent of abortions are obtained by women who already have one or more children.

Thirty-seven percent of women obtaining abortions identify as Protestant. Twenty-eight percent identify as Catholic.

That means 65 percent of all women obtaining abortions identify with the Christian religion. At current rates, three in 10 women will have an abortion by age 45.

Virginia needs to realize that abortion isn’t going away. Middle-class and wealthy women won’t be inhibited by stronger mandates.

By trying to slowly chip away at a woman’s right to early term abortion, they’re directly targeting young women, lower-income women and minorities — those who can’t afford often expensive birth control or who often can’t afford to have another child in the first place.

Most of these social conservatives surging through Virginia and other Southern states are also the ones who are not believers in a welfare state.

However, when you advocate for more unintended pregnancies to more mothers who can’t support their children, that’s exactly what you’re creating.

To put it simply, gun control leads to less gun violence. Access to contraception leads to fewer unintended pregnancies and, therefore, abortions.

And fewer people in the desperate situations that unintended pregnancy creates leads to lessened dependence on government aid.

You’re saving money and lives, both unborn and born, by simply regulating guns and providing a little more sexual health coverage.

Someone should tell that to Virginia.

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