Today Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a bill that will require all women seeking an abortion in the Commonwealth to undergo an ultrasound. The new measure, meant to be a part of Virginia’s existing informed consent requirement, has sparked national outrage and local protest in recent weeks.
Gov. Bob McDonnell today signed HB462, a bill that would require women who seek abortions to undergo an abdominal ultrasound. An earlier version of the controversial bill inspired national lampooning as the legislation carried a requirement that women undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound. Gov. McDonnell urged lawmakers to remove that requirement. Approximately 1,000 people gathered at the Bell Tower and the state Capitol last Saturday to protest what many feel is an invasion of privacy. Thirty protestors were arrested at the event.
“The issue of abortion raises passionate feelings among many Virginians, based on one’s own views on life and liberty,” said Gov. McDonnell in a prepared statement. “While debates in the legislature over the decades may seem to indicate there is no common ground to be found on this issue, I believe that areas of agreement can and do exist.”
He said that the bill further adds to the state’s informed consent stipulation, which requires complete information about the abortion procedure to be given to the patient before she can freely consent to the procedure. “As difficult as an abortion decision is, the information provided by ultrasounds, along with other information given by the doctor pursuant to current law and prevailing medical practice, can help the mother make a fully informed decision.”
Gov. McDonnell affirmed that the bill does not legally alter a woman’s ability to have an abortion. Virginia is one of twenty-three other states that have an ultrasound prerequisite for abortion procedures.
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