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Morning Read: Va. Delegate Apologizes For Abortion "Lifestyle Convenience" Remark

Delegate criticized for insensitive abortion comment

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    The Texas House has approved a bill that includes new restrictions on abortions that divided Republicans.

    Virginia Del. C. Todd Gilbert got himself in some political trouble Tuesday when he said that “abortion is a lifestyle convenience.”

    After a video circulated online the deputy House majority leader was blasted for his remark.  Gilbert apologized later in the day.

    His original statement against abortion:

    “In the vast majority of these cases, these are matters of lifestyle convenience.”

    His apology via The Washington Post:

    “Abortion is a sad and deeply serious occurrence,’’ Gilbert said in a statement. “Individuals on both sides of this issue agree that it is tragic for all involved. I recognize that few women undergo the procedure lightly. It leaves scars, both mental and physical, that can last forever. I regret that my comments earlier today on the House floor were insensitive to that reality.’’

    An outspoken opponent of abortion, Gilbert made the comment when he was on the floor speaking in favor of an ultrasound abortion bill—legislation that would require women to have ultrasounds prior to getting abortions.

    The bill ultimately passed—63-to 36—in the House.

    As soon as Gilbert made the “lifestyle convenience" remark, two Democrat delegates tweeted it out.

    Del. Mark Keam tweeted:

    Debate over House Bill 462 has turned ugly. Del. Todd Gilbert just said abortions are choices made by women for "lifestyle convenience."

    Del David Englin tweeted:

    Va. House GOP Dpty Ldr: Abortion "a matter of lifestyle convenience" thus transvaginal ultrasound regardless of woman's consent is fine. Wow

    Here is a video of Gilbert making the controversial statement on the floor:

     

    * In addition to the ultrasound bill, the House also passed legislation Tuesday that defines life as beginning at conception.

    Democrats argued that the bill would have unintended consequences and could be used to make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy or use contraception.

    * Virginia's Senate on Tuesday killed Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to dramatically change the way the state’s teachers and principals are evaluated, making it easier to fire ineffective educators. 

    This proposed overhaul of teacher and principal contracts—which would effectively phase out the tenure system—was a major component of Gov. McDonnell’s K-12 education agenda.

    The House passed a similar version of the proposal that will now be voted on in the Senate.

    * Two Maryland House committees voted Tuesday to send Gov. Martin O’Malley’s bill to legalize same-sex marriages to the floor.

    It is still unclear whether there are enough votes in the House to pass the bill, but The Baltimore Sun reports that its proponents are “cautiously optimistic.”

    Supporters have predicted that the bill would only move to the floor if House leaders thought they could win there.

    The two committees, Judiciary and Health & Government Operations, approved the bill in a 25-18 vote.

    * The Washington Post reports that D.C. Council members Marion Barry Jr. and David Catania engaged in “a profanity-laced shouting match that nearly turned physical.”

    Tim Craig reports on the incident:

    After the argument over the future of United Medical Center in Southeast settled down, Barry (D- Ward 8) accused Catania (I-At Large) of harboring a long-standing disrespect for “black men.”

    Catania, in turn, said Barry’s legacy will be one of failure because he has turned his back on his constituents and has allowed his life to be overtaken by personal drama.

    Barry told the Post he wants the council to look into Catania's behavior.

    Read more here.