by Anne Bacon as published in The Winchester Star Open Forum 1/29/13
Sen. Jill Vogel posted a legislative update recently, detailing many issues before her in the state Senate. But I was interested to see what she didn't say. I find sometimes what people don't tell you is as telling as what they do.
Mrs. Vogel made no report on the failed repeal of her legislation introduced last year that mandatespregnant women undergo a medically unnecessary and invasive transvaginal ultrasound.
Yes, Mrs. Vogel was the author of that bill. While her legislation was later amended to require the less-invasive transabdominal ultrasound, efforts to repeal the legislation altogether have already been defeated by the legislature this year. As it stands, thanks to Sen. Vogel, women in crisis will still be subjected to a medically unnecessary and expensive procedure for at least another year.
Virginia ranks 40th nationally for women serving in the legislature - the Center for American Women and Politics bases these rankings on women elected to office regardless of party. While women make up 50 percent of the population, only 17 percent of the legislature is women.
Instead of standing up for women, I was disappointed to find that Sen. Vogel stood lock-step with the men of the Republican caucus and did not sign on as a co-patron to SB789, a bill that would have required equal pay for equal work for women. In 2013, women make, on average, just 77 cents for each dollar that men earn. Had Sen. Vogel signed on as a co-patron to this bill, she would have signaled her recognition of this inequality that affects many two paycheck households in this region.
Mrs. Vogel didn't mention that she voted to kill a number of measures aimed at easing long lines on Election Day; she voted to kill legislation that would have kept polls open just one hour later (SB964). She also voted against a more comprehensive bill to ease voter wait times and make it easier to vote (SB1062).
Regarding gun safety, she failed to mention she had already voted to kill a bill that would have kept better track of where guns are going in Virginia by creating a penalty for a nonlicensed gun dealer to sell a gun to another nonlicensed gun dealer (SB1136).
She also voted against banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition, or semi-automatic weapon magazines, like those used in the tragedy at Newtown last month (SB1148).
While Sen. Vogel reports on a host of issues she is still contemplating, she seems to have made up her mind that politicians - not doctors - should make decisions on women's health-care needs, inequity of equal pay for women should be maintained, there should be no easing of the lines on Election Day enabling more women and the elderly to vote, and that there should be easy access to assault rifles that any soldier will tell you are weapons of war.
Let's ask Sen. Vogel about these important issues affecting our lives that she chose not to mention. I am disappointed in what I heard, and didn't hear. I will be paying closer attention to what she says and what she doesn't say in the future - and I hope you will, too.
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