I’d really wanted this to be a light-hearted little ditty today, a bit of a change of pace. I really did. Then, I did something really stupid…well, stupid if my intention was to maintain my bright mood when I sat down at my laptop. I thought to myself – hey, you know, you’re really behind on the news what with not listening to NPR during the morning commute now that there’s no job to commute to, and Jon Stewart was on vacation for 2 weeks so I was temporarily without my other primary source of news for a while (admittedly, I may need to fill in the gaps with something a little broader, if less entertaining). So, yes, the stupid thing I did was start catching up on the news.

WARNING: if you’re not in the mood for a rant, and a political one at that, this would be a good place to stop reading. Please come back again soon when hopefully I’ve returned to the (figurative) rainbows and butterflies I’d originally intended for today’s essay.

There are 2 related news items that now have torrents of pain raging through my skull, most likely from the increased blood pressure and adrenaline as the blood rushed to make my face a forbiddingly angry scarlet while I waved my arms helplessly, looking around the room at the nobody else who lives here asking, What? You’re kidding me right? But, but, how? At which point I simply sputtered and lost all words. So what is it that has me so worked up? Well, how many of you have been following the trip-back-in-time that has been recent proposed abortion law in Virginia? Excuse me, that’s wrong. It’s not abortion law, it’s legislation to protect women’s health.

I know, I know, touchy subject. I have my opinions about abortion and I’m sure you do too. Before you get all tense, let me say what’s making me so mad, and what I’m focusing on today is not pro-life vs pro-choice or the constitutionality of abortion itself. It’s the back-handed, condescending, conniving, smug way Gov. Bob McDonnell and Atty General Ken Cuccinelli, and their merry men in the state house, have been going about trying to impose their will (be it their own or their party’s) on the people of Virginia. You don’t get to do this! If you don’t like the law, then straight up say what it is you’re trying to change and see if you can get it passed; stop trying to do an end-run. And puh-leeze stop treating women like we can’t read right through your flimsily transparent motives. Even if I agreed with you, I might vote against you out of principle just because if you came up with the legislation there must be something wrong with it.

The initial foray made national news, and Jon (Mr. Stewart and I are on a first name basis because, unbeknownst to him, he’s one of the five men on my Fantasy Boyfriend list) had a field day with this on the Daily Show. All the hubbub focused on the bill passed by the VA legislature in February which would have required most women in the state to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before they could proceed with an otherwise perfectly legal abortion. To be crystal clear, transvaginal ultrasound means a probe is inserted in the vagina in order to obtain the ultrasound pictures. After public outcries of “state-mandated rape”, the bill was amended to only (only!) require an abdominal ultrasound before the abortion could proceed. Our intrepid Gov. McDonnell, initially staunchly in favor of the transvaginal version of the bill, signed this bill in early March. So that’s the background leading up to today. I live in a state where a law says that a woman who goes to a provider to obtain a legal procedure is first required to submit to an abdominal ultrasound, asked to review the resulting pictures with the nurse/doctor so she will “be more aware of the consequences”, and will have the fact that she chose to view or chose not to view the ultrasound pictures noted in her medical file without her consent. Big Brother anyone?

Are there instances where this might be medically necessary? Of course. Situations where a professional counselor in concert with the woman may deem this to be a valuable exercise before proceeding? Makes sense to me. But that the state, some politician somewhere, has the right to dictate this? Unh uh, no way, no how. But that fight’s done and over for now – except for the protesting. They won their first battle in the War on Women that they swear doesn’t exist.

Which brings me to today and my raging headache.

Item #1 I come across is that VA legislature has now passed a bill reclassifying any clinic that provides more than 5 1st trimester abortions per month as a hospital. So what, right? Yeah, the sneaky so and so’s. Seems there are regulations for hospitals under the VA Board of Health that don’t apply to clinics; thus, costly renovations, etc. would be required for the clinics to be able to continue operations and of course almost all of them are expected to close because of this. In a surprise twist, the Board of Health rides in on a white horse and says, okay the reasonable thing to do is to grandfather these facilities since they’ve already been operating; the reclassification will only apply to new clinics. The Board has full authority to do this under Virginia Code. But this lovely little item I was reading informed me that our Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli just knows he knows better than the Board and overrode their decision. This now awaits legal review by the Governor, and then it will return to the Board again. Oh, did I forget to mention that before it gets to the Board, there will be a new Boardmember weighing in this time? McDonnell announced the appointment to the Board of the vice-chairman of the anti-abortion group OBGYNs for Life. Wonder how he’ll vote?

And now Item #2. The kick in the head that just did me in. During that time that I was out of touch with the news I missed a little tidbit. Today while researching to make sure I had my info right on a couple of points, I did a search on the Republican Platform for 2012. You will just never guess who was named Chairman of the Republican National Convention Committee on Resolutions, more commonly known as the Platform Committee. Awww, man, you got it in only one guess. Good old Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

Women, guard your uterus. Everyone, keep an eye out for Big Brother.