Sunday, April 25, 2010

Human Rights in My Backyard: Feeling Blue About Being Purple

My home state of Virginia is supposed to be a purple state, but it hasn’t felt very purple lately.
On Wednesday, the Virginia General Assembly voted to restrict state funding for abortions when the health of the mother is at risk. According to the Washington Post:
On a 20 to 19 vote, the Democratic-led Senate agreed to an amendment proposed by McDonnell (R) that would limit state funding for abortions to those performed in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is at risk. Nothing in state law previously prohibited Medicaid-funded abortions in instances when the health of the mother was in jeopardy.
The proposal to restrict state funding came from Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a staunch conservative who took office on January 16, 2010. Abortion rights supporters fear that the measure will affect all Medicaid abortions at public hospitals in the state except those that fit into the narrow exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. This latest insult to women’s rights comes on the heels of McDonnell’s comments about a week ago, in which he declared April to be Confederate History Month and intentionally omitted anti-slavery language in his Proclamation. He infuriated civil rights leaders in the state and attempted to defend his actions by minimizing the role of slavery in the war. McDonnell’s efforts to mobilize the conservative base in this purple state may do real harm in the lives of women and people of color in the state – and may, regrettably move us from purple to red.

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