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Here's a disappointing update on my diary earlier today on SB456, the Birth Control Protection Act, in Virginia.

The anti-medical science Devolites-Davis Amendment passed in the Virginia Senate today, removing Senator Mary Margaret Whipple's scientific terminology which defined how a contraceptive prevents pregnancy.

Since the bill as amended today by Devolites-Davis is now useless as a means to protect access to at-risk birth control methods such as the oral contraceptive pill, Senator Whipple (D-Arlington) will move to withdraw the entire bill tomorrow rather than have it pass in its new science-free form.

More on this major defeat for reproductive freedom in Virginia (coming soon to a state near you!) and 10 Handy Dandy Ideas for What You Can Do Now below the fold.  

The Hampton Roads Daily Press is giving this defeat some coverage:

[Whipple's] bill would legally define contraception as the prevention of the union of sperm and egg or implantation of an egg in the uterine wall.

Commonly prescribed birth-control pills prevent pregnancy through both means. Abortion opponents who contend life begins at conception insist that denying a fertilized egg the opportunity to attach itself to the womb and develop as a fetus is a form of abortion.

Whipple's bill and a companion measure by Del. Kristin Amundson, D-Fairfax County, would head off anti-abortion groups' efforts to classify birth control pills as a form of abortion. That could subject obtaining the pills, intrauterine devices and other forms of birth-control to Virginia's growing list of abortion restrictions, including parental notification and consent for girls under 18...

Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis' floor amendment applied a less specific dictionary definition of pregnancy. It was adopted largely along party lines in a 21-17 vote with one abstention.

Fellow Kossack Waldo also weighs in at the Virginia Family Values PAC blog.

This was a really important debate, and it will be repeated throughout the session when other related bills are debated, including a bill that seeks to grant fertilized eggs constitutional rights.  The fact that 21 Senators failed to accept the standard definition of contraceptives that is accepted by all of the mainstream medical organizations is a bad sign for the other debates to come.

So what the hell is wrong with Virginia?

First of all, it's not just abortion rights that are at risk here.  Access to abortion has been steadily whittled away in Virginia already.  We're not talking about abortion here -- we're talking about the loss of of basic reproductive freedoms such as access to birth control and access to scientifically correct information in family life education classes.  Of course, in a state where laws against sex outside marriage are still on the books and oral sex is still a felony, one might not be surprised.  But the state of reproductive and personal freedom in Virginia is worsening, steadily.

Why?  Well, if you'll indulge a short Maura Rant, here are my thoughts on why.

  1. Virginia is home to some of the most active and committed members of the Democratic Party.  Huge Democratic big money donors and many bigwigs from the DNC, DCCC, DSCC, Democratic-allied organizations, and Democratic-friendly lobbyists live in Virginia.  But 98% of their focus is inside the Beltway.  They may pay attention to a Virginia congressional or gubernatorial race, but that's about it.  All that money and attention goes to DC, not Richmond.

  2. Too many Democrats think we're doing oh-so-great because we have a Democratic governor, but we failed to even RUN a Democrat in 43 out of 100 House of Delegates races in 2003.  If we just HAND nearly half of the seats in the House to Republicans without a fight, how can we POSSIBLY wonder that the right-wing extremists can get away with these outrageous attacks on personal liberties?

  3. When we fail to run Democrats against incumbent Republicans, the Republicans in power build huge war chests which they can weild at will to impact other races where we might be competitive.  This is exactly why many of us supported Richard Morrison against Tom DeLay, and we can vividly see the negative impact of Democratic failure to fight in Virginia.  For instance, Tom Davis had no opponent in 2002 and a well-meaning but weak opponent in 2004 (he started way too late to be competitive).  If you look at the Davis FEC reports, you'll see he is extraordinarily generous to other Republicans in Virginia.  Is it any suprise, then, to see so many Republicans who would have supported Whipple's original bill have defected and supported the new amendment introduced by Tom Davis's wife?  Do you think they'd risk cutting off Granddaddy Moneybags Davis?   I think not.  When Democrats fail to compete for every seat, it has a negative impact at ALL levels.  Every time we fail to compete against the Republicans, they grow stronger.

  4. We have really weak systems for liberal and progressive organizations (ACLU, NARAL, PPVA, Equality Virginia, etc.) to stay in touch with each other and disseminate information on bills of importance to people who'd care about them.  Furthermore, too few Democratic legislators have the time to do a lot of constituent outreach, so many people who would work to support a bill like SB456 weren't even aware of today's floor vote.

So What Now?  A Handy-Dandy List of 10 Things You Can Do Now

  1. If you live in Virginia, check to see how your Senator voted on the Devolites-Davis amendment.

  2. A Nay vote would have retained Senator Whipple's medical science-based definition of contraception.  If your Senator voted Nay, please thank them.  (If you're not sure who your Senator is, visit here.)

  3. If you Senator voted Yea, you might ask him or her why they reject the medical expertise of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, and the National Institutes of Health.  I would recommend asking them specifically whether they believe that IUD's, oral contraceptives, and emergency contraception should be subject to Virginia's laws on abortion.  If you get a reply, please share it here!

  4. Please let other ordinary Virginians know that the Virginia Senate failed to protect access to contraceptives.  Most ordinary, busy Virginians have no idea that their access to something as basic as the pill is so at risk.  Please spread this information to your non-political neighbors and colleagues.  

  5. Please take 10 minutes to email a letter to the editor of your local paper expressing your opinion on the failure of the Virginia Senate to protect access to contraceptives, its rejection of medical science, etc.  More details on some current bills that threaten access to contraception are in my earlier diary

  6. Support HB2855,   a bill that Delegate Kris Amundson introduced in the House that is identical to Senator Whipple's bill.  Given that the House is even more conservative than the Senate, this bill is even less likely to get out of committee, and if it does, it is likely to face an amendment just like the Devolites-Davis amendment, which would essentially kill it.  Contact your delegate and express your support for HB2855 anyway.  It's really important that they know that more Virginia citizens are watchin what they do.

  7. If you're interested in keeping watch on other legislation in Richmond, please join Democracy for Virginia's Legislative Sentry email list.  Our objective is to have more citizen sentries keep watch over Virginia legislation and increase public awareness about bills of interest to progressive Virignians.

  8. If you're not already a member, join your local Democratic organization in Virginia.  If it sucks, find other Kossacks, DFA-ers, and other allies, and take it over.  Half the battle is just showing up.

  9. If your Senator or your Delegate are Republican, find out now whether they have Democratic opponents yet.  A number of the worst Republican Delegates, like the Dynamic Duo of Discrimination, Robert Marshall and Dick Black, actually have opponents this time - we need to support them with our power of many small donations.  If they don't have opponents yet, you'll know where work is needed!

  10. If you are not already active, become active with Democracy for Virginia and attend Virginia DFA Meetups.

If you have other ideas to add to the Handy Dandy List of Things You Can Do Now, please include them below!

And if you're not a Virginian, thanks for reading.  I still think infomation about battles like this may be of use to other states.  We need to build on each other's efforts and learn from each other if we're all going to be stronger in our own states.

Originally posted to Maura in VA on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 07:53 PM PST.


Most popular new rejection line in Virginia:

4%2 votes
14%7 votes
82%41 votes

| 50 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Question (none)
    What incumbent GOP State Senators and State Reps are vulnerable going into the 2005? Are there competetive races in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties that the Democrats could win? What about other parts of the state?
    •  What's "vulnerable"? (4.00)
      It depends on how you define "vulnerable".  For instance, I think Robert Marshall in Manassas is vulnerable, since he's completely gone off the deep end with crazy wingnuttery, and even though there are plenty of conservatives in his area of Prince William/Manassas, I don't think the vast majority of voters are nearly as extreme as he is.

      He only raised $35K in 2003, though he has over $40K on hand since he didn't have an opponent in '03 or '01.  (Grrr.)  And it sounds like Bruce Roemmelt, a fire-fighter and Vietnam vet who's going up against him, could have some populist appeal among those who'd be turned off by Marshall's extremism if they knew about it.

      Greg Werkheiser has raised more money than incumbent Republican David Albo in the 42nd.

      Most of the 43 Republicans who ran unopposed did so while raising very little money.  You can see a financial overview of all 2003 races here and get a sense of who's financially vulnerable.

      All the negative publicity that John Cosgrovein Chesapeake got over the fetal death reporting bill could make him more vulnerable.  He's only got $25,000 on hand, but as far as I know no one has stood up to oppose him.

      My point, though, is that we shouldn't just be looking at those races we think we can win right now.  We should be looking at all the races and making sure we've got candidates in all of them.

      •  True (none)
        However, there are some races that are just not winnable due to the demographics of the districts invovled. That being said those races should have challengers. But they should only get funding if they show promise.
        •  Run anyway! (none)
          The key to making an unwinnable district winnable is to get the message out there, consistently, by running a candidate EVERY time.

          If you give up on the district, you guarantee that it can never be won by an alternative candidate, because there's no alternative to vote for.

          Just run and keep running!

          •  But the problem is (none)
            How do you convince someone to run in a way that is almost certainly going to end up in defeat? Running for office is a very difficult task. It requires people to work VERY long hours and raise very large amounts of money.

            It is nice and fine to say that "we should contest every seat". The problem is convincing people to give up their whole lives for an election cycle they are most certain to lose.

            The problem is that there are very few people who are THAT ambitious, who are willing to undertake task that is almost 100% futile.

            •  Great question (none)
              I know a couple of people who did it this past November.  I'll ask what final straw made them decide.  Maybe there's a common thread.  (It's a bit late to ask tonight, but I'll email and see what reposnse I get over the next couple of days).
            •  Lots of reasons (none)
              I've known several people who have run in "hopeless" elections.  One even ended up coming close, but that's a long story.  In each case, we're talking local races (city council, school committee, state rep)  For some:  It's a challenge, an adventure, for some people it seems like it will be fun, they'll get to meet more people in the community, they'll get to see their name on a bumper sticker.  When my Mom ran for school committee, it was because she had some ideas for the local schools, and she figured that by running for office she'd be able to raise these ideas, and get them into the mix, even though she wasn't going to win.  Someone else I knew ran because he wanted to raise his profile in his political party (some collection of pachyderms).

              There are a million reasons that someone will be willing to run for local office; very few of them have to do with political calculation.

            •  Not every race is really "unwinable" (none)
              Chap Petersen was an underdog against popular incumbent Jack Rust, yet his door to door campaign led to his upset victory over Rust.  Now we need another Petersen type to go up against Devolties-Davis.  I'm certain that the women of Fairfax do NOT want to give up birth control -- with a good well funded canadidate, I'm sure Fairfax would chose birth control over the Davis clan.

              Believe me I wrote an angry letter to Devolties-Davis last night.  Sure she's Republican but she specifically campaigned as someone who would protect "a woman's right to choose" against a more conservative third party candidate and a nice Lutheran Minister as the Democrat in the race.  I was shocked when I read of her actions -- I never thought she'd pull something like this.

              •  Chap is an exception (none)
                Look at Chap's bio on his web site. He was not your typical unknown candidate - his family has lived in Fairfax City for years, he went to school in Virginia, and he's a lawyer. Chap was plugged into the local Democratic Party and had a lot of support.

                The problem is the local Dems rarely get behind their longshot candidates. The minister that challenged Devolites in 2003 had no visibility. Ken Longmyer who challenged Tom Davis last year was graced with one Party sponsored fundraiser. It's pathetic.
                •  But why is Chap an exception? (none)
                  Yes candidate recruitement is hard but Fairfax is trending more strongly Blue -- why aren't Democrats putting more resources into defeating the remaining GOPers here?  SIGH.
                  •  Beats me. (none)
                    I've tried to get involved with the County Dems a few times, but they don't answer their emails and they don't do outreach.

                    I describe Chap as an exception because his profession and background plugged him into the fundraising and political circles of the local Democratic Party. Some of the other local Dems (like Steve Shannon in Vienna/Oakton) were also recruits by the Party hierarchy. But most of your other longshots are at best "tolerated" by the party apparatchiks.
                    •  I couldn't agree more (none)
                      There's a lot of progressives in Fairfax that are mightily frustrated by the local Democrats.  Like putting a person in charge of "volunteer outreach" who "doesn't do e-mail" and has no cell phone.  I blame the local party for the rise of Tom Davis and his wife.  We'd have more successes like Chap if they'd wake up, look around the neighboor and see all the folks hungry for change.
                      •  Isn't it remarkable? (none)
                        I'm a member of FCDC and I'm absolutely STUNNED by how completely technophobic the committee is in general.  They have a Web site, but it is rarely updated.  But the thing that kills me is that they don't even have an electronic newsletter!  I have signed up for the email newsletters of the Loudoun Committee and the Alexandria Committee, and that's basically the only way I know about anything local.

                        Are you on FCDC?  I know one other great Kossack who is on FCDC who has been interested in trying to at least get a couple of people together who could work on an email newslettter.  I mean, we're not even asking the committee to join the 21st Century, we're just asking them to join the 90's!

                        •  Nope not on FCDC (none)
                          I went to a meeting of the Providence district Dems precinct captains and volunteers with a buddy of mine but when I inquired about the equivalent for the Mason district where I live, I was told it didn't exist because too few Democrats live there. Huh? I've never done that sort of work before -- I'd be willing to volunteer but I'm not qualified to build it from scratch and they don't seem to even want anyone to volunteer.
                          •  Mason exists and is strengthening (none)
                            The Mason District Committee does have a precinct ops committee which is led by a new and energized precinct ops chair.  She's really good and did a lot of work this year, but Mason hasn't made the kind of progress that Providence did this year - they were amazing.  No other district was nearly as organized and coordinated as Providence, but Mason really made strides this year.

                            They definitely welcome volunteers in Mason district.  When I first went to meetings, there was no room on the Mason committee, but I just kept coming and they finally made me a precinct captain.  There are a few precincts that are still understaffed right now.  Mason also has a Yahoo group for communication among precinct chairs and volunteers.

                            What precinct do you live in?  I'd recommend contacting Rachel Rifkind, chair of the Mason committee, and letting her know you'd like to get involved.  You might find that you precinct is actually understaffed, and it's the best way to start organizing locally.  

                            Since there are at least a couple dozen of us regular dKos writers/readers in Fairfax, maybe we could start a little DailyKos caucus at the FCDC meetings.  :-)

                          •  my precinct actually has NO staffing. (none)
                            I was told by the Providence folks that nobody was bothering with my precinct and the adjecent one because they were so strongly GOP. Funny thing is My development is split into two precincts (not so funny when you realize that yahoos in Richmond are responsible!).  I used to be able to walk to the local elementary school to vote but now my precinct is over 2 miles away down RT 236 -- just a handful of houses on my side of the street are lumped together with an adjacent developments to the west a few houses on our side of RT 236 and a development miles away off of RT 236 where the polling location is.

                            I know my old precinct pretty well, folks know me because I'm always walking my dogs, but I don't know the folks in the new (as of 2000 redistricting) precinct as so many aren't even near me.

                            I think I'd be willing to volunteer to do the grunt work of precinct walking but I don't want to do it alone at first and I need a mentor to show me what to do as I've never done that sort of work before.  Trouble is that apparently no one else has (as of the time I was inquiring) stepped foward to volunteer in either precinct.

                            Yea, I like the idea of hooking up with DailyKos folks in Fairfax too.  Thank god I'm almost finished with crunch time at work!

                    •  Go to a meeting (none)
                      Nope, FCDC doesn't do outreach (except at the occasional fair or something) and I've had many emails go unanswered to people on the committee.

                      But there's one thing you gotta do -- JUST SHOW UP.  The monthy FCDC meeting is tonight at 7:30:

                      Holmes Middle School
                      6525 Montrose St
                      Alelxandria, VA 22312

                      Find the group of your local magisterial district (Mason, Lee, Dranesville, etc.) and introduce yourself to folks.  You may find out that there is a vacancy on the committee and you can join right then.  If there is no vacancy, stay anyway.  If you keep showing up, they WILL make room for you on the committee.  The meeting is open to all Democrats in Fairfax even if you're not on the committee.

                      If you're interested in following state issues and races more, a fellow Kossack, Jim Edwards-Hewitt, is hoping to re-start the FCDC State Affairs committee.  If you go to the meeting tonight, keep a look out for him.

                      Right now, you can't wait for anyone to answer your emails.  Just show up to the meetings.  If you keep coming back, you can get involved in improving communication.

                      And yeah, the meeting is likely going to be one of the most frustrating, annoying, nothing-gets-done meetings you've ever been to.  STAY ANYWAY. I promise you there are plenty of people who want change - you have to stay and connect with them to make that happen.

                      •  Keep us posted on the meetings (none)
                        I can't make the one tonight, but I would like to get involved in the future if my schedule permits. Thanks for all your work Maura!
                      •  You can't show up if you don't know when or where (none)
                        Alas I can't do a meeting tonight -- will be burning midnight oil on year end issues at work :-(  

                        My buddy has been far more forceful than I.  She basically harrassed people until they gave her stuff to do -- ended up volunteering at Kerry's Merrifield office, but now is frustrated at the local Dems because it is so impossible to track down when meetings are and to crack open the secret code to get involved.  Almost make you want to start a separate outfit to do what the local dems don't have the guts to do.  Really.

                        •  I can relate (none)
                          That's one of the reasons that so many of us in NoVA have gotten involved with Democracy for America and Virginia Grassroots Coalition.  It's really frustrating that our local party --- even though it's quite well funded and HUGE --- seems so difficult to get involved with and get anything done with.

                          The FCDC web site ( does at least list the monthly meeting times and locations of the whole committee.

                          You should also subscribe to the Fairfax Democrat, the snail mail newsletter from the FCDC.  It's silly that they don't also distribute that via email, but it does have lots of info.  You can get .pdfs of back issues on the FCDC Web site and I think it costs like $25 to get it delivered to your house.

              •  Where is Devolite's seat (none)
                Can it be won? Doesn't she represent Fairfax County?
                •  District 34 (none)
                  District 34 includes all of Fairfax City and part of Fairfax County - I think most of Vienna is in District 34, and that's far from Freeperland.

                  (Other Fairfax Senators include Jay O'Brien, Ken Cuccinelli, Dick Saslaw, Bill Mims, Janet Howell, Mary Margaret Whipple, and Patsy Ticer.)

                  •  Ok (none)
                    So it seems like a swing district then?
                    •  In 2003 (none)
                      She won with 52.8% of the vote.  Remember, she's a Senator, so these are much more expensive races than House races.

                      She spent $280K and Ron Christian (D) spent $262K, and won 47.2%.
                      She's gotten over $94,000 from the Tom Davis Virginia Victory Fund over the years, as well as $58,000 from the national Republican Congressional Committee.  Hmmm...I wonder why she got that kind of money from the national Republican party?

                      Whoever goes up against her in 2007 is going to face  her huge war chest.  She has $200K in the bank right now, and the money keeps rolling in...

                  •  Also includes much of Annandale (none)
                    Devolties Davis' district also includes all of Annandale east of Little River Turnpike and the Falls Church section of Fairfax County south of Rt 7.  A very badly drawn district IMO in terms diluting the voting power of the inner suburbs of Northern VA.

                    Me? I live near Fairfax Hospital in extreme westernmost Annandale.  My precinct is strongly GOP but suprisingly was only 47 votes short of going for John Kerry and I think went for Chap Petersen in 2003.

        •  "Get funding" (none)
          What do you mean by "get funding"?  Get it from whom - from the state party, from a PAC, from grassroots supporters?

          I think any challenger in ANY district, no matter what the demographics, should get support from local Democrats.  $25 adn $50 donations really add up -- you can see from looking at the 2003 races that some races were won with less than $20,000.  

          I also think that the state party should fund EVERY Democratic candidate for the General Assembly, no matter what the demographics of the district.  It's the absolute minimum that the party should do.  More competitive races could get more resources (like assistance with organizing, staffing, etc.) but at a minimum the state party should give seed money to every Democratic nominee for state office.  

          •  The problem is this (none)
            Money is limited. Thee just isn't enough money to spend on every long-shot candidate. There are some seats that are probably 70% that no Democrat on earth, even if it were Jesus running against Judas himself, could ever win barring a major scandal or some other catastrophe.

            Throwing money at a seat that we are most likely NEVER going to win is not a wise allocation of resources. Now if a candidate in such a seat raises a decent amount of money, has a somewhat strong following, and gets important endorsements, or if the GOP incumbent is flawed or mired in scandal, then we should throw money his or her way. But if those conditions don't exist then we shouldn't waste our time or money.

            That being said I think it is hard to encourage people to be "paper candidates". It is noble to claim that "we should run candidates in every race", but how do you convince someone who has a 90% or more chance of losing in a 70%+ GOP seat of giving up a whole year or two of his/her life in what arguably is an an admittedly futile task?

            •  Good candidates bring new money (none)
              I have a few thoughts about this, and they're colored by my own experience as a new political donor.

              I've been a life long Democrat, but I never gave money to a political candidate before 2003.  Howard Dean brought a lot of new money like mine into politics, and it wasn't just because I hated Bush so much.  I always figured people much richer than me should support candidates.  It was Dean who inspired me to invest in a candidate that I can really believe in.

              I believe this can happen at the local level, too.  In state races, we're not talking about trolling for a bunch of $2,000 donations.  A hundred people giving $100 each can finance some of these state races; if you find 300, even better, with a few angels kicked in.  

              I just don't subscribe to the mindset that there is a finite pool of money that we need to work with.  Good candidates can inspire new money.

              I do completely agree with you about how difficult it is to encourage anyone to be a candidate, much less to be a candidate in a district where it will be very difficult to win.  But I think there is plenty of room in Virginia to build systems to encourage more people to run - like hosting DFA/21st Century Democrats trainings, Wellstone Camp, and events like the Road Back PAC recently hosted in Charlottesville.  

              Running for state rep is typically not a 2 year commitment.  Any of us could stand up now and run for election in November.  Yes, it's still a great commitment and sacrifice, but it doesn't require a full-time commitment and it doesn't have to be 2 years.

      •  Semi OffTopic (none)
        Noticed in another diary a relatively new Kossack touting Greg Werkheiser as candidate for the 42nd dist delegate. (southern Fairfax County)

        Werkheiser's website has plenty of content, but nothing speaks of his commitment on any issues. Chance you could shed some light, Maura?

        vote early - vote often

        by wystler on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 10:49:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've heard about Greg... (none)
 a person, but not so much on the issues -- I've heard more about his credentials and what a great fundraiser he is.  I'm not sure he's a perfect progressive or anything, but I'm confident he's worth supporting against Albo.  Nevertheless, I think it's a good idea to let him know (through the site) that he needs to beef up his coverage of the issues on the Web.  There are plenty of issues-based contrasts he should be able to draw between him and Albo.
          •  the issue content (none)
            Word on the street is that the issue content is coming soon! Media response from the campaign about that right now is that Greg will not discuss issues (with the media or on the web) until his official announcement. Then it's open season for issues!

            PS - Greg's not afraid of any of these issues - this is just teh strategy that they've mapped out.

      •  Bob Marshal Vulnerable? (none)
        I've spent so many years watching the wingnuts take over in the Occoquan district that I'll believe Marshall is vulnerable only when I read of his defeat in the Potomac News (yes, I know he now miss-represents the other side of Prince William County, but he used to miss-represent us).

        And unfortunately, Michele McQuigg (51st House District) long ago patented the chummy door-to-door campaigning style that makes everyone here think that "family first, last, and always" equals "moral values". Fortunately, she didn't get the tactic going early enough to take out the venable Kathleen Seefeldt as supervisor for our district, although I'd fully expect to find that the pending bill to rename Rt 234 as the Ronald Wilson Reagan Memorial Highway would "most conveniently" rename the long section that that roadway shares with Prince William Parkway (a.k.a. the Kathleen Seefeldt Parkway). When I saw that legislative proposal, I immediately thought Michele was a secret co-conspirator with Ligamfelter.

        I suspect that the people in this county are going to have suffer "serious pain" from the Republican agenda before they will realize how self-serving and selfish the goals of the local Republican Party are.


        VP:"the Constitution, which makes the president the commander in chief...provides sufficient legal authority to launch a war even if Congress votes against it"

        by Robert de Loxley on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 12:35:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Marshall's Vulnerability (none)

          I've been working with Marshall's opponent, Bruce Roemmelt, and I can tell you that Marshall is VERY vulnerable.  His fundraising is poor and he is non-existent in the community.  

          The biggest issue is traffic.  If you live around here, you know how bad it is.  Marshall has done next to nothing and will be held to account for that.

          As for the "demographics" of the district, Democrats CAN win here.  In fact, Charles Colgan, a moderate Democrat, wins consistently.  We just have to work harder.

          Please join us!

      •  So get this.... (none)
        I'm currently talking with the Henrico Democrat's about running agaisnt Delegate Jack Reid in the 72nd  House District...I most likely have no chance of winning since after living here for three years I know that most people out in these parts are either Rich Republicans or Red-neck Republicans, not to say there aren't rich and red-neck democrats, but that mostly out here their aren't...But I thought that was cool.

        As for people who are vulnerable, any crazy wing-nut conservative who didn't vote for the tax-increase.  They look like fools, and if we're smart we can vote for the wing nuts in the primaries in blocs and then run a moderate democrat against them in the real election.  Oh and Devolites, she's my HOME representative in Fairfax.  She apparrently had an affair with Tom Davis from what I hear and both divorced their spouses to be with each other.  This is just what I hear, not really sure its true.  But she has GOT to go if she's going to be anti-women, anti-saneness.

        •  Republican primaries (none)
          I've heard that it's quite likely that we're going to see a lot of Republican primaries this year, as the Grover Norquist-types go out to punish those Republicans who supported the plan for fiscal responsibility.  They're well funded, and they could be successful in picking off a few more moderate Republicans and replacing them with even more extremists.

          We've got to be there in those districts to be running strong while the Republicans are shooting each other and weakening each other.

          It's so great that you're thinking of running.  What has the response been from the Henrico democrats?  Will they support you?  Did they have another candidate in mind?

          •  well.. (none)
            I've briefly talked about it with the head of the organization, I think I have to go sell myself to them before they would back me and put money up for me.  We shall see how it goes.  But I mean if they spend 400 dollars on me, and that forces the other guy to spend 5,000 to defeat me.  That's still 5,000 less that could go to defeat Kaine.  The guy only had 7,000 votes for him in the lastt election.  I'm sure I could find 4,000 democrats sign them up by election day and win at least a 40% vote share.
    •  X (none)
      Without polling no one will know who is really vulunerable or not, and that probably won't come for a few months (I assume, I'm not familiar with Virginia) which is why Maura's point is so important about contesting every seat, with strong and dedicated candidates. The best way is to suggest to your state or local dem party people who you believe have deep support in the community, and if that doesn't pan out trying to convince those people to run. It's much easier to slay a giant in the state leg, than it would be elsewhere, and with Virginia's 2005 election cycle, the money is more useful because turnout isn't at a high water point like it was in 2004 and turning out voters becomes a bigger factor.
    •  In State House races, difficult to say (none)
      Most state house/senate seats MAY be vulnerable (although there are significant issues beating an incumbent, as there are everywhere).  The thing is just finding the issues that will make the voters vote against the incumbent-- often not as hard as you might think.  As an example, when I was living in the Maryland suburbs of DC, an acquaintance who was less than 1 year out of college ran against a multi-term state house member and nearly won based on the issue that the incumbent was absent from a high number of votes in the state house and therefore was not working for his district.  (this is from years ago, so I may be slightly off)

      The point being, most of these seats may be vulnerable and, as others have mentioned, running against a Republican just to pin them down is not such a bad thing,

  •  I know I've said this before (4.00)
    but the sheer hypocrisy of these people makes me want to throw things! The ONLY way to cut down on abortions (if that is your actual stated goal) is to ensure EVERYONE has access to birth control. Hell, it should be free to anyone who requests them.  Of course, the real goal is not to "save the babies" but to regulate women's sexual conduct.

    Everyone should read War on Choice-it warned against these very types of measures. Thanks for updating us.

    There's no point for democracy when ignorance is celebrated...insensitivity is standard and faith is being fancied over reason.-NoFx

    by SairaLV on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 08:29:49 PM PST

    •  No, No! No!! NO!!!!!!!!! (none)
      It's not to regulate women's sexual conduct. It's to regulate poor and working class women's sexual conduct. The wealthy will still take a trip to the continent, should they ever succeed in outlawing abortion here. This is about raising the bar for abortion, nothing more.

      It's a damned shame. It's not a War on Choice. It's class warfare, pure and simple.

      vote early - vote often

      by wystler on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 10:53:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bifurcation (none)
        It's very important to understand the difference between the James Dobson and the Bill Buckley branches of the Republican Party.  I can assure you the former (which are largely the footsoldiers of the party) emphatically want to give Constitutional rights to fertilized eggs.  [Remember that it costs a lot of money to have in vitro fertilization.  Most of them would not be bothered if it shut down fertility clinics.]

        The latter, though, are the ones who see it like the parent -- we can just go to France or Denmark for abortions.  The rude awakening will be when Congress makes it illegal to travel across state lines for an abortion.  When Griswold is gone, you'll be repulsed at what will be required at the airport....

        •  It's Understood (none)
          Granted, the footsoldiers are true believers. Nonetheless, access to abortion will still be available to the well-heeled. (not that it's a good thing) No matter what law passes, the ability to regulate ends at the border.

          vote early - vote often

          by wystler on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 08:52:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Interesting question (none)
            That is a point; the Bourse Right (we'd call them Wall Street, but...) would emigrate en masse, women first, to Europe?  They'd be arrested if they tried to return, so they could ask for amnesty from the US.  Turn the country over to the Dobsoners but pull all the money out first -- that does sound like a Corporatist solution.
            •  They Wouldn't Be Arrested (none)
              Waddya mean, equal justice?? Haven't you paid enough attention to cocaine prosecutions over the last quarter-century? The wealthy would go to morals school at worst, while the other class of women either choose abstinence, barefoot pregnancy, or back-alley abortion & prison ...

              vote early - vote often

              by wystler on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 10:17:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Wow, wow. They are overreaching! (none)
      They must be stupid. If they overreach like this, people will suddenly get wise to them. They will undo their own dominance like this.

      (I'm talking about the Republican party, of course.)

      •  Are you being sarcastic? (none)
        Do you really think "people will suddenly get wise to them" over this?  I only wish that were true.  They've gotten away with as much, and more, without people getting wise.  
        •  Not being sarcastic (none)
          I may have expressed myself too hastily by saying people would "suddenly" get wise to the intents of the GOP.

          But if, beyond abortion, they restrict birth contol too, then they will at some point light a firestorm or uprising by moderate, reasonable people (some of who have voted Republican, and will regret it).

          I'm saying if they overreach enough, they will be exposed. Can't hide, can't deceive as easily once they cross some lines.

    •  And to think... (none)
      Last night I wrote this in another thread:
      Of course, the wingnuts could retreat to their only fallback position: banning any mention of how babies are made.

      I thought I was joking! Yikes...

      Stewart/Olberman 2004!

      by mugsimo on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 08:22:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  BAH! (none)
    My Senator, Colgan of Manassas, voted for the amendment today.  Email has been sent, I'm awaiting his response.
    •  You're in Manassas? (none)
      I had no idea you were from Manassas, Fran!!! Have we met?  Did you go to the Manassas Dean Meetups?  I know they just ressurected the DFA Meetup out there, now in Centreville.  

      Thanks for writing Senator Colgan.  I can't wait to hear what he say.

      •  not from Manassas (none)
        My "permanent" address is in Haymarket, Virginia (which is 5 miles further west of Manassas).  I go to school in Illinois, though, which is where I am now.  My first Dean for America meetup took place in Northern Virginia, I think August 2003.  I forget where it was - maybe a Mexican restaurant in Falls Church?  It was the Meetup group that had that woman (whose name I forget now) with the donated video camera who was filming stuff for DFA.  We probably have not met, unless you happened to go to that Meetup as well.
  •  Really good diary, Maura. (none)
    I don't live in VA, but this is distressing, on many levels.  It's one of those days - I don't even know what to say.  Thanks for fighting this.
  •  So what happens if (none)
    the VA legislature bans the pill?  Don't the VA Republicans immediately lose all their women voters forever?  And don't the incoming Dems undo the ban?  Is it so bad to have to use condoms for a while in between?
    •  Well (none)
      You should also use a condom while the woman is taking the pill. The pill doesn't 100% guarantee against pregnancy. You should always use a condom just to protect youself against pregnancy.
      •  Not exactly true (none)
        Pill is very effective if used correctly - 99.9% Failure happens when woman forgets to take several pills in a row or 1-2 pills right before (or right after) pill-free interval, extending 7 pill-free days to 8 or 9 days.

        Condom, on other hand, is the only method that protects from sexually transmitted infections.  For pregnancy prevention condoms have 3% failure rate if used correctly and 14% in typical use (when humans, imperfect as they are, forget to use it occasionally). So if one wants dual protection (from pregnancy and STIs), than both pills and condom should be used together. Otherwise it is up to woman/couple to decide.

        •  And antibiotics. (none)
          Don't forget that antibiotics have a nasty habit of "switching off" the contraceptive pill.
          •  This is a common myth (none)
            I am in reproductive health/contraceptive I deal with it a lot.
            Antibiotics have no effect on oral contraceptives.  The only one that does is rifampicin (used for tuberculosis treatment only).  Some antiretroviral drugs (for HIV) are shown to reduce blood concentration of contraceptive hormones somewhat, but if they reduce efficacy is still unknown.
    •  Well (none)
      You should also use a condom while the woman is taking the pill. The pill doesn't 100% guarantee against pregnancy. You should always use a condom just to protect youself against pregnancy.
    •  Only if the word gets out (none)
      1) If people don't make sure that other Virginians know what just happened, then no one's going to be the wiser until too many families suddenly become larger because they waited until too late to renew their prescriptions:

      "Oops! Oh well, I'll just take 2 tomorrow." But tomorrow comes and you can't get a refill. Happy Mother's Day! (It's not the best practice, but not entirely unheard of, either).

      1. There's NO guarantee that even something this outrageous will get the apathetic public out to vote the bums out - or that they'll be unopposed next time out, so it may not be very temporary.

      2. Why the heck should ANYONE accept being forced to use a different birth control method, even if it's only for a short period? It's no one else's business what kind of contraception is right for you. How many women's only birth control option is the pill, because their partners refuse to use barrier methods?

      3. What other anti-woman legislation should we allow, because it will only last a little while?  Perhaps rescinding the right to vote?  After all, if you can't be trusted to make the right decisions about what's appropriate for your own body, clearly you're not capable of making decisions that could affect the entire nation...
    •  hate to break it to you (none)
      but a lot of people against artificial contraception (which is everything except abstinence during fertile days) are women. You should read up on Dr. Janet Smith, for instance, one of the champions of the anti-contraception ethic, who's been lecturing and teaching this for decades, and who I bet you, in your liberal bubble, never heard of.

      "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

      by bellatrys on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:06:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So is the Pope (none)
        and a few other extremists, sure.  Show me some actual numbers if you don't want me to think that "a lot" means, like "dozens and dozens".
        •  Okay, how many people attend Christian colleges? (none)
          of the conservative sort over the past thirty years?

          Is "tens of thousands" enough for you? The NYT estimated that there were around 100 thousand plu conservative hardcore Catholics of the Gibson ilk, last year when Passion came out. I talked to a relative in the consrvative Christian book industry about that number, and they figured that was about right - this is someone who sells books to that target audience and needs to know the math.

          There are more of them than there are registered dKossacks, that's for sure.

          "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

          by bellatrys on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 05:18:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  christian college (none)
            Having the book at these colleges and the kids actually doing what it says in the book are two different things.
            What evidence do you have that these kids are actually not using condoms? Is there a higher incidence of VD on Christian Campuses because they are using the withdrawel and abstinence methods or oral sex only?

            What Would Shirley Chisholm Do?

            by ricardo4 on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 05:45:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What evidence do you have that they're having sex? (none)
              I suspect that it's something that would be impossible to get accurate statistics for anyway, but I'm certain that a large portion at least genuinely are of the "abstain until marriage" POV.
          •  in electoral terms (none)
            tens of thousands in a state the size of VA is just about insignificant.
            •  are you stupid or just coy? (none)
              You're wilfully missing the point: you want to believe that there are only a few "dead enders" and yet you had no clue that any of this was coming down the pike.

              You're unaware of the movement, let alone of the size of the movement, you have no idea how many of these people - my former side - are out there and how many people in turn they are influencing and by what means.

              There are links to the CIA propaganda branches, btw.

              But you go on believing that they're just a few "dead-enders," like old Rummy, if you want, despite no evidence whatsoever but your own feelings. Anyone with any sense will not, though.

              "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

              by bellatrys on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 05:22:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't live in VA (none)
                so I don't pay much attention to what the VA legislature has on its mind.  

                I have no idea what Rummy and the CIA have to do with banning birth control pills (and won't the VA lege have a SCOTUS decision called Griswold v Connecticut to deal with if they try for the ban?).  I said I'd expect such a ban to be very unpopular among women voters, maybe enough to get the perpetrators thrown out.  The response was "don't be so sure, lots of women are against contraceptives".  I asked how many and the answer was "tens of thousands".  Since the population of VA is around 7 million, tens of thousands doesn't sound like all that many.

                I don't see what Rummy or the CIA has to do with that.

      •  So if a lot of people are agaisnt it... (none)
        But say more people are for it, then whats the problem.  Further down you say their are 100,000 mel gibson style christians who are very tow-the-line on the subject.

        Well 100,000 out of 270,000,000 is....

        0.000037% of the country...I don't think that's enough of a sample size of this country to say theirs a sizable amount of anti-artificial contraception out there.

        I've worked in a hospital in Richmond, Virginia.  And it was our practice to reccommend these pills to  prostitutes and young women just in case.   The doctors weren't allowed to prescribe them though for some reason...I think we sent them to a free clinic nearby.

    •  The pill isn't just for birth control (none)
      Some women are on the pill to regulate their periods.  

      I'd predict that the GOP would lose females over this but moreso in Northern Virginia and the Tidewater region.  The bible thumpers and the Opus Dei nuts OTOH will cheer it.

    •  That won't happen, but yes, it is that bad (none)
      They're not stupid enough to ban the pill outright right now.  They haven't banned abortions outright, either.  The point is to create legal frameworks that will support future outright bans, and to keep pushing this slippery slope legislation while nobody's noticing.

      And nobody's noticing.  A few of us here aren't enough to stop this.

      What's happening is this.  Pharmacies and physicians can refuse to distribute emergency contraceptives.  Others, who consider EC to be a form of abortion, can say that women have to follow the same waiting period they have to wait for an abortion.  That waiting period could very well put the woman outside of the window of time in which EC will work.  

      This incremental, slippery slope stuff has thus far worked because it does NOT capture major attention from ordinary Virginians.  The media gives it little or no coverage.

      And yeah, it's so bad to have to use condoms.  Men have to agree to use condoms.  It takes reproductive decisions out of the woman's hands.  And condoms fail.  It's absolutely unacceptable.

  •  asdf (none)
    Lorton resident with two staunchly Republican representatives here, but my e-mail is away. I'm just sorry I didn't see this earlier in the day so I could have written before the vote.

    Thanks for your efforts, Maura. I'll share the link with coworkers tomorrow.

    •  Thanks, meeby (none)
      Please post here if you get a reply from either of them.  I'd be really interested to see what they write.
      •  Got a response from Albo today (none)
        In response to my request that he support HB 2855. Here's what he had to say:

        I want to thank you for contacting my office regarding your support for House Bill 2855.

        HB 2855 provides that contraception is not subject to or governed by the abortion law.

        This Bill is currently being considered by the House Committee for Courts of Justice.  As a member of this Committee, I will give your views much consideration before I cast my vote.  Thanks for bringing this to my attention.  In the past, I have voted for similar bills.  I will keep you informed on the progress of this Bill.

        If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

        Yours for good government,

        Dave B. Albo

        I didn't do much but ask him to support the bill. It was late. I was tired, and I had put a little more thought into my missive to O'Brien about why he voted for the amendment to the Senate version. Haven't heard a peep from him. Of course, he's also never canvassed my neighborhood. Albo was here last summer talking to constituents. I can't begin to tell you how sorry I was that I wasn't home when he came through; although, I wasn't as informed and strongly opinionated at that time as I am now. But I keep hoping he'll come through again. . . .

  •  Natural family planning? (none)
    Okay, I am not being sarcastic, but really, isn't the whole attack on birth control an attack on a pharmaceutical product, and why aren't we hearing from those companies that make these products?  Are they making so much money on other products, they don't mind getting out of the birth control business?

    Well, here's a little gadget that tells you if its a green day, or a red (no sex) day.  No prescription, no hormones, no pills, shots, or messy condoms.  It is as reliable as any other form of birth control, and this natural technology has been around for centuries.   I personally think all women should know when its a good time, or maybe not such a good time of the month, depending on your point of view.

    •  FDA Warning Letter (none)
      Efficacy has never been through the approval process, despite the deceptive claims that devices have "been clinically studied" on their web site.


      We have evidence that your firm is soliciting the citizens of the United States to purchase various uncleared medical devices. For example, many of the devices used to prevent pregnancy and disease transmission, which you offer for sale on your Internet site ... require marketing clearance and may not be legally marketed in the United States (US) without such clearance.

      These devices are:
      The Lea Shield (Barrier) Pantycondom
      Persona Contraceptive System
      Ezon Male Condom
      Ladycomp and Babycomp Computers
      The Unisex Condom
      Ovu-Trac The Dental Dam
      Oves Contraceptive Cap

    •  Rhythm method. (none)
      "You know what they call couples who use the rhythm method?"

      "Yeah. Parents."

      Any method of contraception that depends on not having sex! is going to fail a lot. Human nature.

      And that's leaving aside concerns that without FDA testing and approval the gadget may well not be giving accurate advice. Anybody can lie on a web site.

      Massacre is not a family value.

      by Canadian Reader on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 11:31:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yea, just tell them (none)
        not to have sex.  It's working so well, that they are letting prisoners out of jail early after signing an oath that they will not rape, murder, steal, or become a registered Democrat.

        When the rest of the world decides to take care of the bully, I hope I'm not in Columbine.

        by georgeNOTw on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 06:41:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (none)
        I went to Catholic high school, and we were lectured every year about the inefficacy of all forms of birth control.  This was right before the annual visit of the woman from the Right to Life League, who brought those models of fetuses encased in models of chunks of women's bodies.
        Anyway, one year one of the teachers was feeling a little rebellious, and asked for all the kids who were conceived while their parents were using the rhythm method to raise their hands.  At least 25% of the class did.

        Rex Morgan M.D., you're the cure for the daily blues.

        by pedant on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 07:32:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I used to use NFP. And then I wised up (none)
      Sure, plotting cycles has its benefits -- like making it easier to conceive when that becomes your goal, but NFP is intrusive and it interferes with sleep.  There's nothing natural about examining cervical mucus and taking your temperature first thing in the morning.  I started using an IUD and it was the best decision of my married life.  This is up to the individual, foursquare, without qualification.  It's none of your or my business.  

      And let's hear it for my senator, Mary Margaret Whipple.  This is exactly what the Dems need to do -- go on the offensive to smoke out where exactly these anti-choice folks stand on contraception.  

    •  It is not as reliable as other forms of BC. (none)
      It is as reliable as any other form of birth control, and this natural technology has been around for centuries.

       I tend to rely on the studies outside the US and they generally indicate a failure rate of about 30% which would make it one of the least reliable. Another problem (and a purely practical one from the POV of many, many women) is that it requires celibacy for about 1/3rd of every month. Why do we persist in maintaining the fiction that 'no means no' in and outside of marriage?

      "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

      by colleen on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 06:02:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree not first choice- (none)
        But many women do not do well on birth control, the hormones do not agree with them.  And I have two kids to prove other methods do not work well either, so I agree no method is 100% great.

        My point is that there are alternatives, why shoot NFP  down when a lot of women are looking for alternatives?  

        Also, why not have more studies on NFP to refine it to make it more reliable?  We use it to get pregnant, to know when the most fertile time is, so why not use it to avoid getting pregnant?

        The cost of birth control is staggering over the life of a woman.  If there is a natural alternative, why should it be hushed up?  

        The other reality is that some women cannot or choose not to use less natural methods.  They are avoiding pregnancy, but another child may not be the end of the world.  NFP is perfect for those women.

        •  Because the failure rate is so high. (none)
          My point is that there are alternatives, why shoot NFP  down when a lot of women are looking for alternatives?

           There are other types of contraception with lower failure rates besides the pill. IUD's, diaphrams and foam or combinations of these, for instance.

          My objection to your statement was that NFP is as effective as other forms of BC and it is not.

          why should it be hushed up?

          I'm not trying to "hush it up", I'm saying that it's one of the least effective methods with one of the highest failure rates and has other problems.

          I also strongly advoacte an effective method of contraception for males. This plus more accountability from many men for the children they have been at least 50% responsible for bringing into the world would greatly reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.  

          "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

          by colleen on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 08:38:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  link please (none)
            It should be as effective, if you don't use it properly obviously it will fail.  I am not familiar with figures that state it to be only 70 % effective.  

            My understanding is that if it it used properly it can be as effective as most other methods.  

            I know many women  who are not happy with their method, or do not use it relgiously, so I assume their method is as effective as this one would be.
            (My oldest child was conceived while I was on the pill)

            And I know women who won't even take a tylenol because it is not "natural".  For those women looking for a natural alternative, then NFP is perfect.  For married women looking to space children, or breastfeeding women, it can provide an alternative, or a backup.  I am not convinced it is for everyone, but for those couples who can follow rigidly, for women taking a break from contraception before getting pregnant, and those who are using far less effective means- NFP can at least provide a backup measure.




             The problem with male contraception is that any damage you cause to sperm could in fact cause a deformed baby.  Male contraception is simply too risky if it involves damaging sperm.

            •  Here are just a few (none)
              In August, 2002, In August, 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported a failure rate of 20 pregnancies per 100 women per year for periodic abstinence.

              The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) lists a higher failure rate for periodic abstinence of 25%.

              Effectiveness (failure rate): 2%-25%.

              20% to 30% failure rate

              The other (considerable) problems being:

              not having intercourse during the 3 to 6 months of initial observation of the menstrual cycle

              not having intercourse for up to 2 weeks every month

              unsuitability for women who have irregular periods

              difficulty in avoiding fertile periods

              no protection against sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.

              I think it's irresponsible to tout NFP as an effective method. I understand that it's the choice du jour for religious types but it relies on a set of circumstances which are unrealistic for many, if not most women. If the point is to reduce the number of abortions and unwanted pregnancies, there are better methods.

              The problem with male contraception is that any damage you cause to sperm could in fact cause a deformed baby.  Male contraception is simply too risky if it involves damaging sperm.

              Here are a couple of links to information in this area

              "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

              by colleen on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 12:13:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  No, Long-Time Roman Catholic Policy (none)
      among other things.

      Pamphlets I've read while waiting around as a wedding musician include the teaching that artificial birth control is the same as abortion.

      Not just morning-after--any artificial means.

      The puritanical streak of the Protestant RR make many of them happy to join in these rollbacks.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 09:02:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not understanding your point (none)
      Are you saying this is no big deal because natural family planning methods are available, or we shouldn't worry about it because the pharmaceutical industry will ride to our rescue?  I'm not sure what your point is related to this bill.
  •  it astonishes me, but it shouldn't. (none)
    it seems that there is absolutely, absolutely no limit to how far fascists, sexists, and racists can carry their agenda in various state legislatures and get away with it.

    Congratulations, Maura: Yours is the most febrile and scabrous bunch of anti-woman, anti-human swine I know of, outdoing my much-loathed MI legislature.

  •  Kooks is what they are, kooks I say! (none)
    The wingers already demonized the homosexuals, now I guess they want to drive away heteros as well.

    These people have set themselves up for a ridicule campaign.  While their actions are outrageous, the political response should be calibrated not as outrage, but scorn, mockery, ridicule.  Keep in mind that even the majority of their political base uses birth control.  Make them the laughing-stock of their own base.  It can be pointed out that banning birth control pills only interferes with sexually active people, so the politician (insert name here) isn't personally affected.  Stuff like that, they're setting themselves up for mockery, please accomodate them!  

  •  I hate to say it, but I tried to tell you so (4.00)
    you guys were all "oh they're so crazy for trying to criminalize unreported miscarriages, why are they so nuts, even the freepers think this is whacked" - and I, the nearly-lone-ex-"prolifer"-ex-theocon here, tried to explain how this was simply a stab not only at recriminalizing abortion but also at outlawing contraception--

    and when the Delegate retracted his campaign, after vast force exerted by the blogosphere, there were so many "nice" Democrats here going "oh well it must have been an honest misunderstanding, and they're pulling the law so stop yelling" - I remember seeing several nannies flapping their hands at Maura to make sure that she was "fair" and "balanced" and didn't leave people with a bad opinion of the poor chap--

    I'm telling you guys, you've been living in your own liberal-mainstream bubble all these years, just as much as any winger. Go read back issues of the National Catholic Register or Crisis Magazine or First Things if you want to understand the logic and tactics and mindset of the social conservatives in DC. (Register has been around longer and is widest read afaik. Crisis and FT are put together by people who are/were advisors to this White House, and funded by the Four Sisters and other Republican foundations.)

    Or else go on patting yourselves on the back about how they're all mouth-breathing morons and illiterates, and be blindsided again and again by people who can invoke Cicero and Shakespeare to support their poetics of "life ethics," and have been working at it for a very long time...

    "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

    by bellatrys on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:03:57 AM PST

    •  To wit (none)
      Here's a list of all the bills currently before the VA General Assembly that contain the word abortion. Almost every one of them is an effort to regulate, restrict, and close down access to legal abortion and penalize illegal abortion.

      # HB1422 ..Health insurance; coverage for ovarian cancer screening and annual mammogram.. (1)
      # HB1524 ..Abortion; anesthesia for fetal pain, penalty.. (20)
      # HB1662 ..Medical or health services to minors; notification to parents... (1)
      # HB1677 ..Fetal death; report by mother, penalty... (7)
      # HB1809 ..Fetal body parts; sale of prohibited, civil penalty... (1)
      # HB1810 ..Abortion; sale of post-abortion fetal tissue unlawful, penalty... (4)
      # HB1939 ..Health professionals; unprofessional conduct... (2)
      # HB2214 ..Computer crimes; punishment for interferring with computer systems, penalty... (1)
      # HB2296 ..Comprehensive Services Act; mandates medical assistance services for low-inc.. (1)
      # HB2347 ..Abortion clinics; localities to adopt ordinance requiring license... (6)
      # HB2350 ..Abortion clinics; subject to provisions of Consumer Protection Act, prohibit.. (17)
      # HB2352 ..Abortion services; prohibited if physician does not have admitting privilege.. (7)
      # HB2473 ..Computer Crimes Act; criminalizing hacking; penalty... (1)
      # HB2516 ..Health records; revises certain provisions for privacy of minors... (1)
      # HB2543 ..Physician assistants; authority to sign various forms and provide treatment.. (1)
      # HB2640 ..General Provisions of Code, and Boundaries, Jurisdiction and Emblems of Stat.. (25)
      # HB2784 ..Abortion clinics; regulation and licensure... (40)
      # HB2855 ..Contraception not to constitute abortion... (2)
      # SB195 ..Medical assistance services; eligibility for aged and disabled individuals... (1)
      # SB456 ..Abortion; contraception not to constitute... (2)
      # SB507 ..Detention of a mentally incapacitated person; judicial authorization... (1)
      # SB641 ..Heath insurance; coverage for hearing aids for minors... (1)
      # SB702 ..Medical assistance services; eligibility for aged and disabled individuals... (1)
      # SB839 .. Abortion clinics; regulation and licensure... (32)
      # SB854 ..Adoption and custody; consent not necessary if father has been convicted of.. (25)
      # SB1017 ..Detention of a mentally incapacitated person; judicial authorization... (1)
      # SB1023 ..Persons with mental illness, mental retardation or substance abuse; recodifi.. (28)
      # SB1109 ..Health records; revises certain provisions for privacy of minors... (1)
      # SB1163 ..Computer Crimes Act; reduces thresholds for damages and punishment... (1)

      Bellatrys knows what the score is Virginia. These nutcases will not give up and they will keep pushing forward.
  •  thank you (none)
    I'm in NC, not VA, but I want to thank you Maura for keeping us informed and providing such a succinct action plan for VA voters.

    We outraged Americans tend to spend a lot of time outraged and feeling like there is nothing to do, and it can be hard to snap out of that and actually come up with a workable, step-by-step action plan.

    I wish someone or group of someones did something similar for each state in the union, having a Legislative Sentry.  That would be awesome.

  •  Part of their total Anti-Woman Agenda (none)
    This is exactly, exactly why Roe V. Wade has to stand.  It is the right to privacy alone that can keep the wingnuts out of our collective pants and panties.

    I have heard so many on this site talking about how Dems need to give a little on abortion, and who talk about how they never had one etc. etc. You can't give a little in these cases.

    Maura should have made it clear to you.  The reproductive fascists agenda is:

            Every sperm and egg is sacred
            No method of birth control is acceptable.
            No sex is good unless it produces children
            No sex is good unless the couple is married.
            No woman is worthwhile unless she is married and pregnant.
            Since women are to be always pregnant, they should not be allowed to work, and therefore they don't need to be educated either.

    Heck, these days it is also:
            Since women live longer, they should get smaller Social Security benefits

    I have no idea how any woman can buy into this, but they do, usually because their religious leaders  buy into it, but not always.

    Do the women in VA understand that their right to birth control is under attack?

    •  One More Reminder That (none)
      those wingnuts include the Roman Catholic church. The first 4 points are formal church teaching, in my experience.

      Don't forget the wedding vow I often hear at RC weddings "to lovingly accept children from God."

      This church is a primary source of modern liberal social justice, and it's a huge factor in demographics we need such as Latinos.

      Now go take on the day.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 09:06:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fortunately (none)
        When you look at use of birth control among Catholics, they use it just as much as Protestants.  While they may march in step with the wingnuts on abortion, it's bound to give them pause when they have to return to the Pope's Roulette method of birth control.  

        One can only hope.

        Otherwise Democrats are going to have to choose between women and Catholics, with all the complications of Catholic women.

  •  Virginia is for lovers? (none)
    Isn't that one of the state's slogans? Not anymore, I guess. Do free vibrators come with the amendment?
  •  Does this have anything to do with Tim Kaine? (none)
    A thought suddenly hit me.  Tim Kaine is Roman Catholic.  Is Devolties-Davis trying to force Kaine to take a public stand on contraception to get him in trouble with his Bishop in Richmond and the arch conservative Bishop here in Northern Virginia?

    This would explain why Devolties-Davis who used to be reliably pro-choice in the past has suddenly jogged so far into the wacko-fringe.

    •  No. (none)
      As Lt. Gov., Kaine has almost no role to play in the Legislature - especially with the GOP dominance in both chambers.

      Kaine is also unapologetically pro-life to include opposition to the death penalty. So I don't see a scenario where they can force him to make a statement on the bill that would be damaging.

      I think Devolites is trying to ensure that she can fend off a primary challenge. Remember that she voted for Warner's budget deal last session. Lots of wingnuts in VA want revenge against the "tax turncoats" like her. This vote might offer her a way to split the wingnuts by throwing a bone to the "rapture" crowd.
  •  Daughter in prison ?? (none)
    Wasn't it repersentative Jean Marie Devolites-Davis whose daughter is in prison for a string of armed robberies??  People like her are so concerned with how other people conduct their lives and don't pay attention to their own children.  
  •  Part of a trend..... (none) what this is. As others have noted, the Right has truly made it very difficult for the non-wealthy to obtain an abortion. So, what else to do but go after birth control? Here is a quote from this September 2004 BBC report --> link is:

    "Pro-choice groups now call it a significant and growing trend. Lisa Boyce of Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin says it is a conscious extension of the abortion debate.

    "They've done so much with outlawing and restricting access to abortion that they've set their sights on birth control because there's nothing else really they can do to further restrict abortion here in Wisconsin," Ms Boyce says.

    "Which is counter-intuitive because if you're against abortion in the least you'd think you would see the value in enhancing access birth control, the very means women look to preventing pregnancy and the need for abortion."

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain"

    by Ed Tracey on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 07:32:55 AM PST

  •  It's definitely part of a trend (none)
    Make no mistake, the agenda here is much wider than limiting access to birth control.  These people are trying to limit ALL reproductive choices available to the citizens of Virginia and of every other state and territory of our country.  It really is a slippery slope approach, first they narrow the definition of contraception so that they can in turn narrow the definition of conception and then widen the restrictions on any activities related to the creation, prevention or termination of the products of any "conception" under their newly created and unscientific definition.  While I agree that there is a misogynistic element at work here, I think that it goes a lot further than just that.

    I truly believe that these people are also trying to create inroads into stricter regulations on reproductive technology and every citizen's access to these technologies.  Once they change the law so that conception begins at the point when gametes come together and then declare that these fertilized eggs have civil rights, they will then try to regulate how many eggs can be retrieved, fertilized, used, discarded, and even how many can be frozen.  And if anyone thinks I'm reaching here please take note that it's already taken place in Italy.  

    Maura, I really hope you can rally the citizens of Virginia to keep these nutcases from quietly getting away with enacting their anti-American agenda.  Please keep getting the word out about how this battle progresses.

  •  God damn the commonwealth. (none)
    I'd love to leave this wretched state behind - there aint a damn thing left for me here anymore.  These rednecks have no respect for anyones rights but they're own.  I can't wait for the day when they wake up to find that they have none either and there's no one left to defend them.


  •  Where does it stop? (none)
    "[Whipple's] bill would legally define contraception as the prevention of the union of sperm and egg or implantation of an egg in the uterine wall."  --  Guess that outlaws the Headache as well.
    •  It Stops When There is No (none)
      remaining threat to authority.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 09:08:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent (none)
      Guess that outlaws the Headache as well.

      Excellent.  This is the kind of thing I meant above when I talked about attacking this mov ewith ridicule.  Start floating lines like this out there, a new ridicule line every day, and sooner or later this whole wingnut project collapses under public mockery.

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