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McDonnell Shifts on Ultrasound Bill

House passes amended bill that does not require internal sonogram after governor changes course.

Update, 4:33 p.m. Wednesday:  The Virginia House of Delegates passed on Wednesday a revised version of a GOP-sponsored informed consent bill (HB462) that would require women to undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours before having an abortion.

The new bill, which requires women to receive an external, transabdominal ultrasound rather than a more invasive transvaginal ultrasound, passed by a vote of 65-32.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) revoked his support for the original bill minutes before the House began debate, saying that the government did not have the power to require the transvaginal procedure.

The amended bill now returns to the Senate where its sponsor, Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Winchester), has said she will strike the legislation. A House version, by Del. Kathy Byron, is pending before a Senate committee.

Original story: 

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has recommended amendments to SB 484, which would require an ultrasound prior to an abortion being performed. 

In a press release issued Wednesday, McDonnell reaffirmed his pro-life stance and belief that government has a duty to protect human life, but noted that after meeting with other governors, physicians, attorneys, legislators, advocacy groups and citizens he sees no need for an invasive mandate.

"It is clear that in the majority of cases, a routine external, transabdominal ultrasound is sufficient to meet the bills stated purpose, that is, to determine gestational age,” said McDonnell in the release.

"Thus, having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done. Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent 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 precondition to another medical procedure."

McDonnell has requested that the General Assembly amend the bill to "explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily" and "only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age."

McDonnell said that should another form of ultrasound be necessary to provide the necessary images and information it will be between the doctor and the patient. "The government will have no role in that medical decision," said McDonnell. 

The governor's full remarks can be read here. 

As written, SB 484 (identical to HB462) , introduced by Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Winchester), would require that "as a component of informed consent to an abortion, to determine gestation age, every pregnant female shall undergo ultrasound imaging and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion."

The Washington Post previously reported that McDonnell, up until last weekend, had supported the bill and would sign it into law. 

The full text of the bill can be read here. It would also require a copy of the ultrasound and written certification be maintained in a woman’s medical record at the facility where the abortion is to be performed. 

SB 484 and HB 1, spearheaded by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), have recieved national media attention this week after being mocked on and blasted on The Rachel Maddow Show. Former governor

Vasquez2 February 28, 2012 at 07:06 AM
As stated in an earlier post, we've had 4 families move into my neighborhood from Maryland, in the last year. They've left because they're fed up. i've got relatives in Ohio and Michigan trying to make the same move to VA. Laughingstock? Not hardly.
T Ailshire February 28, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Vasquez2 - exactly the point. In the scenario you paint here, it's a choice by the DOCTOR and the WOMAN, not by the government. If the woman doesn't want to follow the doctor's recommendation, she's free to find another doctor.
George Sibbett March 02, 2012 at 12:52 AM
It seems like a wonderful, modernized state, Virginia. How the hell can you keep a straight face when discussing your state?
George Sibbett March 02, 2012 at 12:55 AM
PLEASE, tell me what its like to live in the 19th century!!! Virginia. Do they walk around town with confederate uniforms on?
George Sibbett March 02, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Do you people of Virginia realize how far backward you are perceived to the modern world. do you walk around wearing confederate uniforms? My lord people, join the 21st century

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