VA Senate Passes Ultrasound Bill

Yesterday the Virginia Senate voted 21 to 19 to pass a bill requiring women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound. All but one Republican and two Democrats voted in favor of the bill. Because the Senate approved an amendment that was not in the original House bill, which would create an exception for women who had been raped, the bill must now return to the state House of Delegates for a vote.

Delegate Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) stated, “Tens of thousands of Virginians have made their voices heard on this intrusive government mandate that forces a woman to have a medical procedure without her consent. Playing politics with women’s health and women’s rights is abhorrent.”

Last week, the Virginia House of Delegates voted in favor of the measure after Republican Governor Bob McDonnell submitted an amendment to the bill requiring that women undergo an external, transabdominal ultrasound, as opposed to a transvaginal ultrasound, as originally stated in the bill.

Although McDonnell initially pledged his unconditional support of the transvaginal ultrasound bill, he revised his position earlier this week, saying that he would need to review the bill before signing it. The Governor claimed that he only recently learned about the invasiveness of a transvaginal ultrasound, which requires a probe being inserted into the vagina.

Tarina Keene, president and CEO of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated, “Women will hold them accountable for this government overreach into their private decisions and their constitutional rights. Women should have the option of having an ultrasound, not forced to undergo a completely unnecessary procedure prescribed by politicians.”

Richmond Times Dispatch 2/28/12; Statement of Barbara Favola 2/28/12

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