After drawing national attention, Virginia lawmakers have put off final votes on a number of controversial bills touching on everything from abortion to gun rights. Republicans, who control the state legislature, denied their actions had anything to do with national news reports focusing on one particular measure that would force women to undergo an ultrasound prior to an abortion.
But according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch
, the national pressure on the state’s GOP lawmakers is “unrelenting” and has spawned outrage, especially among women. The newspaper reported that nearly 1,000 people opposed to the ultrasound bill rallied at the Capitol on Monday.
Another rally is scheduled for Thursday, and the Times-Dispatch reported that petitions were also being delivered today to Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell’s office in opposition to the measure, as well as a so-called “personhood” bill that would define life as beginning at conception. McDonnell has indicated that he would sign the ultrasound measure if passed.
According to the Times-Dispatch, the other controversial bills include the repeal of Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law; a measure that would allow people to use lethal force against home intruders without facing criminal charges; and a “conscience clause” measure that would allow private adoption agencies to deny placements because of their beliefs.
State House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano told the Times-Dispatch the national spotlight is forcing the Republican majority to rethink its positions on the bills.
“I think they’re realizing that they’re going too fast and not paying careful enough attention to the language of these things and finding out that there are unintended consequences,” he said.
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