Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Virginia Senate Approves Controversial Ultrasound Bill

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 3:52 PM

The Virginia Senate approved a watered-down version of a bill that would mandate ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. A similar measure was introduced in the Idaho Legislature by Meridian Republican Sen. Chuck Winder on Monday.

The Republican majority of the Virginia Senate, voting mostly along party lines, passed the bill with a 21-19 vote.

The Washington Post reports that the bill requires women seeking an abortion in the first trimester to undergo an abdominal ultrasound. The bill was amended to remove a provision that that would have mandated a so-called "transvaginal" ultrasound, which uses a vaginal probe.

Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell initially supported the original bill, but when it came time to sign it, backed away from the measure, saying, "Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state."

Virginia Democratic Sen. Janet Howell said the bill, as it stands now, is "still an assault because it's an unwated touching" and the woman is "coerced" to undergo the procedure in order to have an abortion.

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