As noted before on my personal blog and elsewhere in the media, Virginia Governor Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell has a burning ambition to be the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012. To close the deal, he needs to be a solid conservative, but he can't be someone easily depicted as an scary extremist.
The rub for McDonnell is the extreme legislation being rammed through the Virginia General Assembly - especially the so-called "personhood" bill and a bill aimed at forcing all women who seek abortions to undergo an invasive vaginal ultrasound.
If McDonnell vetoes the bills, he will have to face the vengeance of the Christianists at The Family Foundation (an affiliate of Focus on the Family and Family Research Council) and their network of cooperating far right fundamentalist churches across Virginia. However, if he signs the bills, his chances of pretending to be even remotely a moderate are dead on arrival (see the image at the link below - which I'm sorry is rather graphic - to fully understand this point).
If one wants to understand the extremeness of the Virginia GOP's anti-abortion ultra-sound bill, a good place to start is to consider Virginia's current criminal statutes on rape and "object sexual penetration" from the Code of Virginia of 1950, as amended. Here's the verbiage:
Section 18.2-67.2. Object sexual penetration; penalty.
A. An accused shall be guilty of inanimate or animate object sexual penetration if he or she penetrates the labia majora or anus of a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, other than for a bona fide medical purpose, or causes such complaining witness to so penetrate his or her own body with an object or causes a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, to engage in such acts with any other person or to penetrate, or to be penetrated by, an animal, and
1. The complaining witness is less than 13 years of age, or
2. The act is accomplished against the will of the complaining witness, by force, threat or intimidation of or against the complaining witness or another person, or through the use of the complaining witness's mental incapacity or physical helplessness.
B. Inanimate or animate object sexual penetration is a felony punishable by confinement in the state correctional facility for life or for any term not less than five years.
Since the sole purpose of the bill is to intimidate women to either not seek an abortion at all or to inflict sufficient emotional distress on the women involved that they will not proceed with the abortion, there is obviously no "bona fide medical purpose" for the mandated procedure. It is 100% motivated by far right/GOP religious belief, not any legitimate medical purpose. This therefore arguably raises the question as to whether or not each member of the General Assembly who voted for the bill ought to be charged with a felony for conspiring to cause such criminal actions to be taken against women against their will.
As RHReality Check is reporting, Taliban Bob may be belatedly waking up to the quicksand his Christofascist cohorts may be leading him into. Here are some highlights:
Virginia Governor McDonnell signaled his intent to sign one of the most despicable bills in the country that would force women to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound against her will in order to obtain an abortion. Or in other words, a bill authorizing state-sanctioned rape. After speaking with Jeff Caldwell, McDonnell's press secretary, it seems the Governor is not so eager to go on the record with his previously-held position.
I asked Caldwell if the governor really intended to sign a bill that met the standard of Virginia's rape statute. When put in those terms it seemed the Governor's office balked. "The governor will review it if it passes and will see what the final language of the bill is," said Caldwell.
I pressed and asked Caldwell if this is a new position for McDonnell, if he was backing off a bit as his statement suggested. Mr. Caldwell flatly said, "No, he's generally a pro-life candidate, I don't think we are being inconsistent."
Caldwell refused to say if Governor McDonnell would sign the state-sanctioned rape bill or not.
Caldwell wouldn't address how the state-sanctioned rape bill would stand up to scrutiny under Virginia law. He instead directed me to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. I called the AG's office and was passed through to a legislative specialist's voicemail. Cuccinelli is fresh off a public appearance endorsing Virginia's egg-as-person bill (naturally) also working its way to Governor McDonnell's desk...
Take a good look at the following image that depicts what Taliban Bob McDonnell will be doing to women against their will if he signs the ultrasound bill and then ask yourself if this is the handiwork of a moderate.