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Energizing the Opposition in VA's Culture War

A place where Personhood is not going to fly? That would be Reston.

The culture war battle is firmly in Virginia this month as bills regarding Personhood and mandating sonograms for all pregnant women seeking an abortion make their way through the Virginia General Assembly.

Northern Virginia has long sung a different political tune than the rest of the state, as longtime Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston) often points out. One of the centers of liberalism? That would be Reston, which Plum has represented consistently since 1982. 

Plum met with citizens on Saturday at Reston Community Center Lake Anne. He held an informal community meeting to hear what was on constiuents' minds.

They did not mince words.

"I want you to sue," said one man, his voice breaking. "Mandating sonograms has got to be against the Constitution. They can't bully people."

The man was referring to House Bill 462, which passed the house 63-36 last week.

The bill requires every woman undergoing an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound. The bill says the woman must be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus before the abortion. 

Under the bill, if the heartbeat cannot be detected, as is often the case early in a pregnancy, the woman would be subjected to a view with a transvaginal probe.

Says Plum: "I find the bill repulsive."

The group also discussed HB1, which would grant individual rights to an embryo from the moment of conception.  On Tuesday, the House of Delegates passed the measure on a 66-32 vote.

The bill provides that “unborn children” from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development “enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth, subject only to the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States, precedents of the United States Supreme Court, and provisions to the contrary in the statutes of the Commonwealth.”

No state has passed such a law. Since 2008, Republicans in Colorado and Mississippi have pushed for similar Personhood bills, but they failed.

HB 1, sponsored by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), now heads to the Senate.  

"The implications are so incredibly far-reaching," said Plum. "No way should the legislature go forward with that bill. People joke and say 'well then could pregnant women use the HOV lane?' The point being is once you go there, could contraceptives be banned?"

So what can citizens do? Make their voices heard, Plum says.

Plum's suggestions: Write to the governor. Sign petitions. Use social media such as Facebook to rally friends and remind people that not all Virginians support these measures.

"Your first line of defense is tell the governor not to sign this bill," he said. "We need to get him to know a lot of people don't want this."

Restonian Beverly Cosham, in the audience Saturday, agrees. She says she is committed to raising opposition to these bills.

"We have to get people energized," she said. "The Republicans say they want less government, but this is more government. Get on Facebook. Tell your friends. We cannot sleep through this. This is seriously dangerous."

Tracy Pless February 20, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Ken, this session is truely a disgrace to women in the worst way. I will be there marching with the rest of the sane women. Thanks for putting out picture on your website!! Hope to see you and Janet when you get home. Thanks for all your good work on our behalf.
Catherine Baum February 21, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Why is there not more outrage?
Catherine Baum February 21, 2012 at 04:11 AM
WHY IS THERE NO OUTRAGE? WHAT IS HAPPENING IS TRULY OUTRAGEOUS.
Carlos Montoya February 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Republicans believe that conception begins when you go on match.com and agree to meet at Jackson's.
Wilt Mckenna February 21, 2012 at 01:31 PM
The outrage should be over the fact that we have gotten our society to this point that we have our head in the sand....this legislation is right on. Abortion is a serious evil afflicting several generations now....to accept abortion as a normal option of womens "health" considerations takes a twisted mind and heart of a warped society, a culture of dealth. For a woman to eliminate her baby for the convenience of all involved and it is all guised as a right is the real outrage. And for politicians to grandstand this is even more unjust. Everyone knows as mother Theresa had so humbly expressed that babies are blessings no matter what circumstance they were conceived...we should apply our energies and funds to help the troubled and problemed mothers as she did...don't destroy her baby. How is protecting abortion any different than "the final solution"?
stephen fehr February 21, 2012 at 02:06 PM
This is just a goofy statement. Arlington and Alexandria are "centers" and "capitals" before Reston. Fairfax County is considered the center of liberal-leaning politics. Its capital? That would be Reston, which Plum has represented consistently since 1982.
Karen Goff February 21, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Good point. I could have phrased that better. I meant Reston seems to be the center of Fairfax County's liberal view. while Northern Virginia in general is more left thinking than the rest of virginia.
Denton Vaughan February 21, 2012 at 04:19 PM
I believe these questions should be left up to the woman and her doctor. I don't think that abortion is a good thing but in some instances is the only option available. When you think of the situation of so many kids in this county I am really angered by those who think so much about life begining at conception and have no regard for life after conception. In any case it should be the woman's choice and the government should stand clear of the whole area!
El February 21, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Mr. Montoya, Please be informed that you do not speak for "all Republicans".Thqt was a totally asinine comment.
Carlos Montoya February 21, 2012 at 05:26 PM
To E!, who has evidently been watching too much of that cable channel which features the Kardashian family day and night and named herself after it: If you read even a bit carefully, you might notice that I never said "all" Republicans. Further, if you're trying to joust with me, check your post for typos,
Carlos Montoya February 21, 2012 at 05:35 PM
To Wilt McKenna: How many unwanted children have you adopted? How many of these that grow up to be criminals and murders are you prepared to incarcerate? Women do not terminate pregnancies for convenience. Abortion is legal as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court. That you favor terrorizing young women who often are in their early teens, or are victims of rape or incest, or are soon to give birth to a child with birth defects when the mother can't even care for herself speaks volumes about your state of mind.
El February 21, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Montoya, look to your own typos. It's not E! you jerk, it's EL. Want to joust now?
Carlos Montoya February 21, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Sure looks like E! from here. Perhaps you should find a name that has more than two letters. But why don't you address your supposition that I was addressing "all" GOPers. Go ahead, was "all" in the post?
The BSD Guy February 21, 2012 at 07:27 PM
The people of Manassas should rally together and get their "leader" that came up with this bill recalled (i.e. FIRED!!). The "new" politics of the Radical Right Wing which caters solely to special interests is not democratic, but more like facist. The only thing any of these dictatorial CLOWNS will ever understand is being FIRED. If a few of them get fired, like Republican Scott Walker in Wisconsin is about to be, they might, it might actually start to sink into their pea-brained little heads that they're supposed to be doing the will of the American people, not the Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck. ....and I don't even support abortion rights!!!
RareRestonRationalist February 21, 2012 at 11:26 PM
This is just Del. Plum feeding a frenzy to make the people of Reston think that he's out there fighting for you, where in reality he is just as much the problem as pretty much any other incumbant. When of the party in power, they try to ram through extreme bills, and when of the party out of power they call themselves the victim, or in this case we're in a 'culture war'. We should do ourselves a favor and boot out any incumbent, of any party, who plays these career politics tricks and keep doing so until we get some lawmakers who actually care to work with others, of any party, to get solid work done. I don't care who started what, I want a grown up in office. Step up Del. Plum, please someone must.
Robert Perrone February 22, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Kim, An extremely salient point. Congrats for your excellent analysis.
Heather N February 23, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Do you eat meat? Have you ever killed a bug on purpose? Do you support the death penalty? Are you pro war? If your answer is yes to any of these things your point is completely invalid and you have a twisted mind and heart and are giving in to a culture of death, to use your own words.
Gloria de Gaston June 08, 2012 at 02:27 AM
I agree, too

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