The Rachel Maddow Show | February 22, 2012
>> republican politics about sex couldn't get any weirder this year, just when you thought republicans maximized their references to your genitals in their policies, just when you thought the republican party of 2012 had completed its list of things they want to legally force your doctor to do to you against your will, the rhetoric about small government has taken a turn. it has apparently been surpassed by far more descriptive and specific mandates about not only what size government should be but what shape government should be, so it can more easily fit inside your pants. today, in virginia , a cascade of amazing things happened in republican politics. first, "the washington post " reported that republican governor bob mcdonnell 's staff and handful of anti-abortion republican state legislators met last night to try to salvage the national disaster they had plgone into to have you have to have an unnecessary vaginal probe against your wishes and even if your doctor objects, if you wanted to get an abortion in that state . now the legislation has already passed. it's passed both houses of the virginia legislature , thanks to republican majorities in both. the republican governor and vice presidential hopeful, bob mcdonnell had said he would sign this bill into law. it was all proceeding apays, this is all going according to plan, until the national media noticed what was going on and everybody freaked out and it made it in a joke on "saturday night live "a giant protest at the capitol, this whole thing had become all of a sudden a political emergency. so, back pedal, back pedal, according to the washington post , the emergency republican meeting was convened "after learning that some ultrasounds could be more invasive than first thought, many of the bills supporters were apparently unaware of how invasive the procedure could be." really? these quotes are attributed to anonymous virginia official,presumely republican, while anonymity lets you be more honest, these officials are what is the word? oh, yeah, lying! or okay to be fair, they might not be lying, they could be the opposite of smart. these anonymous virginia officials close to the discussions in bob mcdonnell 's office say that bob mcdonnell and virginia republicans are changing their minds now in having an emergency meeting to figure out what they will do because they had no idea, they did not realize that their legislation was requiring forced vaginal probes. they didn't know. the whole reason the national media, us included, freaked out about the bill in the first place? it's not -- there wasn't a freak out when it was originally introduced, there was a freak out when virginia democrats explicitly made the republicans who supported this bill spell out in no uncertain terms that their new law would definitely, specifically deliberately require the kind of ultrasound that is not the one that looks like this. but rather is the one that looks like this. virginia democrat david englin put forward an amendment which is the whole reason this got national attention. he put forward an amendment in virginia that said essentially, come on now, you can't just require a vaginal probe without a woman's consent. that cannot possibly be what you mean, virginia republicans . and virginia republicans took a look at that amendment and said actually, yes, that is what we mean. they voted down mr. englin's clarifying amendment on a nearly party line vote. and that is what started the national freak out about the bill in the first place. this whole line today republicans hadn't realized they were forcing an internal invasive procedure without a woman's consent that is bull pucky. after we heard about set create meeting last night, met more amazing necessary today. a statement from the office of governor bob mcdonnell , trying to appear i'm guessing vice presidential here, trying at least to appear above the fray while seeming super anti-abortion, which is central to his political brand. in the governor's statement he starts by bragging on his sponsorship of anti-abortion legislation in virginia , including a measure that became law more than ten years ago. he notes that the mandatory vaginal probe bill being now would amend that statute he helped write a decade ago. then the governor comes out against the forcing its way in your genitals part of the new bill. he says "mandating an invasive procedure is not a proper role for the state , no person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state without their consent as a pre condition to another medical procedure ." tada! now governor mcdonnell did want exactly that. up until yesterday. but now as of today, he does not want it anymore. what a difference people paying attention makes. here's the important part. bob mcdonnell is not saying he will veto the bill in virginia . he wants to change it slightly. so that you will, in fact, still be directed to undergo a medically unnecessary procedure by the state without your consent as a pre condition to another medical procedure , the state will still force your doctor in doing medical procedures to you for political reasons, mr. mcdonnell will still force on you things that are not medically indicated, even if they are against your will and against your doctor's judgment. mr. mcdonnell just will no longer force those things inside your vagina anymore, that is the big change. there is still aman mandatory ultrasound. a mandatory 24 hour waiting period because you can't be trusted to make a decision without the government intervening and forcing a totally medically unnecessary day-long wait designed specifically to in convenience and maybe shame you. lest you be swayed by bob mcdonnell sees as the proper and limited role by the state , one of the anti-abortion bills he co-sponsored included language before the state government would allow you to have an abortion in virginia your morals should be investigated. "prior to an abortion practitioner's recommendation for an abortion, a woman must be evaluated to the specifications of the state government , evaluation of the woman shall include investigation of her moral views about abortion." that was the second amazing thing in virginia . first we had the emergency meeting. we had no idea what we were doing. yes, you totally had every idea what you were doing. but then second, bob mcdonnell trying to define a vision of limited government that includes investigating your morals, and forcing medically unnecessary procedures on you. but now, as of today, stopping just shy of actually putting state government inside your genitals. but the most amazing thing that happened today in republican politics, in virginia , is that after bob mcdonnell suggested amending the forced vaginal probe bill so that it still did everything else it did before except for forced vaginal probing, after bob mcdonnell said he wanted the changes to the bill, republicans in the virginia senate said no. they said no to the changes. republicans in the virginia senate today said vaginal probing or bust. the senate sponsor of the bill today expressed the intention today to strike the bill, to kill the bill. rather than submit to the changes that would take out the specific deliberate definition instruction that the state ordered forced probing be a vaginal forced probing. like i said, forced vaginal probing or bust. what on earth is going on with republicans in virginia right now? this is more amazing by the minute. joining us now is david englin who sponsored the amendment, mr. englin, thank you for joining us tonight.
>> thanks for having me, rachel .
>> hard to follow this from the beginning because it's cringey to cover the subject, hard to cover today because the news started moving so quickly and it was hard to sort out. in terms of what i just described there as the process, that is how you understand what happened today?
>> rachel , you described it very well. i'm pleased that governor plk donnell and virginia republicans caved in on forced vaginal penetration, but come on. i mean the fact it took them so long to come around on that issue, they knew very well up front was the problem with the bill is just ridiculous. but then what they did, governor mcdonnell took a small group of men, republican legislators lind closed doors in the dark of night and decided to play doctor . and decided to come up with a new bill. well, make no mistake, the new bill still bullies women in to not having abortions. that is the whole purpose. includes provisions like requiring women who could be victims of rape or suffering from miscarriages, to have images, ultrasound i am makes placed in their medical file, if that is not emotional black mail to prevent abortion, i don't know what is.
>> you're saying it was governor mcdonnell involved directly here, that he was involved personally with a group of all men in coming up with this new language?
>> that's right. we asked him, our minority leader asked the question on the house floor and the republican delegate carrying the governor's new bill in questioning on the house floor very freely admitted that governor mcdonnell wrote the bill. so this is governor mcdonnell 's bill, this new bill that while granted it no longer requires non-consenting vaginal penetration, it still has a series of medically unnecessary requirements with one purpose and one purpose only, to bully women in to not exercising their constitutional right and inserting a group of politicians, a group of male republican politicians, i might add, in the doctor's office and into the relationship between women and their medical providers.
>> out of all the news out of virginia as we have been following this story, the surprise today, after governor mcdonnell wrote the bill, after the changes were requested by the governor's office, after the meeting last night of republican officials, the thing that was most surprising to me was that republicans in the senate said actually, no, we reject the changes. it has to be vaginal penetration by order of the state or nothing. that is the most amazing to me and this has been amazing from the beginning. what do you know about why they are insisting on this, even when it's now so evidently politically toxic even the governor is all but begging them to let it go.
>> it's just shocking overreach, rachel . when tim kaine was governor, rated best state for business, best managed state in the country, education week best state to raise a child. now that republicans have total control of the government for the first time in a long time, they turned virginia in a national laughing stock , by pushing this divisive social agenda and this is all part of that divisive agenda that is trying to insert big government into private matters, such as what women do with their health care and with their doctors.
>> how would you describe the mood in the legislature right now, the mood particularly among your republican colleagues, what was the rank and file 's reaction to governor mcdonnell getting involved, releasing the statement, rewriting the bill and all of his personal involvement here?
>> they have been flailing on the issue for the last week, since you and others in the media really started to highlight this issue to the people, and the people started respond, republicans and democrats together started to respond and say look, we don't think that women should be penetrated without their consent. republicans here in virginia have just been flailing, trying to figure out how to get themselves out of this. what they have done is let governor mcdonnell play doctor mcdonnell and write a new piece of legislation that only compounds the problem. it was sloppily done in the dark of the night without broad public input without opportunity for the medical community to review what they were doing, they made mistakes in the language that are going to cause real harm to women , all in the name of bullying women in to not having abortions.
>> virginia state delegate, david englin, thank you for your time tonight. you've done more than anybody to bring this to national attention and we in the media have been covering what you do, but the fact you brought forward the amendment to clarify what the republicans were doing on this is the reason anybody in the country knows it's happening. thank you for joining us tonight.
>> thank you, very kind of you, been a team effort, virginia democrats will keep fighting for women 's rights.
>> thank you, appreciate it.
>>> do you want to hear what nancy pelosi has to say about bob mcdonnell and the forced vaginal bill, that is next, that is the interview on tonight's show, please