Planned Parenthood slammed Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) over a controversial abortion law after he was selected for a prominent role in creating the GOP’s national platform.
The attack centered on Virginia’s new requirement that women have ultrasounds before they get abortions, and could be a sign of things to come if McDonnell joins the Republican presidential ticket.
The prospective vice presidential contender has a “deeply troubling record on women’s health,” said Cecile Richards, president of the family planning group’s political arm, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
“McDonnell ignored overwhelming outrage when he signed the mandatory ultrasound bill into law,” she said.
“He eliminated state funding for teen pregnancy prevention for the most at-risk youth in Virginia, and he signed temporary, ‘emergency’ anti-women’s-health regulations to pass them faster and with little public input.”
Richards called McDonnell’s selection to lead the GOP’s platform committee “a huge red flag for America’s women.”
Virginia’s ultrasound law recently went into effect. It requires women seeking abortions to have a traditional ultrasound 24 hours beforehand — something anti-abortion activists hope will dissuade women from going through with the procedure in the end.
An original version of the bill required women to receive the ultrasound transvaginally.
Supporters argued that only a transvaginal ultrasound can provide images of a fetus or the sound of its heartbeat early in a pregnancy, when most abortions are performed.
News of the bill soon spread nationwide, prompting enormous backlash.
Women’s health groups called the idea “state-sponsored rape,” and more than one thousand people held silent protests around Virginia’s state capitol, leaving lawmakers “visibly shaken” as they passed by, according to the Daily Press.
In the end, McDonnell worked with statehouse Republicans to craft the final version, requiring an external ultrasound.
Virginia is the eighth state to enact such a law, according to reports.
Blasting McDonnell, Richards noted that women’s votes will be critical to whatever party claims the White House in November.
“Poll after poll shows that women’s health will be a decisive issue for women voters in this election,” she said, “and Governor McDonnell has shown himself to be completely out of touch when it comes to these issues.”
McDonnell has long been rumored to be a possible Republican vice presidential contender.
He will lead the Republican National Committee’s platform committee with Sen. John Hoeven (R-S.D.) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).