Bill to require women get an ultrasound before an abortion passes state Senate

Posted at 10:18 AM, Feb 01, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-23 14:59:51-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A bill that would require women in Virginia to have an ultrasound prior to having an abortion passed the Virginia State Senate Wednesday.

Senate Bill 484 passed by a vote 21-18.

The vote fell along party lines with the exception of Sen. Charles Colgan (D – Manasas) who broke party lines to vote in favor of the bill. Sen. Louise Lucas (D – Portsmouth) was not at the Capitol today and did not record a vote, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The bill’s patron Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R – Winchester) told CBS 6 while her bill required a woman undergo the ultrasound procedure, it gave the woman the option of reviewing the ultrasound images.

“It’s one thing to have information available, but if you have technology there and it’s part of your clinical visit, it would seem that you would want to have the opportunity- or at least the right- to have the information about the ultrasound,” said Vogel in a January 25 interview with CBS 6 anchor Sam Brock. [Click here to view that story]

A similar bill — HB261 — introduced by Del. Mark Cole (R – Fredericksburg) has yet to be voted on in the House of Delegates.

Cole’s bill is expected to pass the Republican-controlled House.

Gov. Bob McDonnell has stated he too supported the bill. Should the Governor sign the bill into law, it would take effect July 1, 2012.

Supporters argue the ultrasound is an important step in providing all possible information to a pregnant woman before she makes a personal decision. Critics call the ultrasound requirement a blatant interference by the government into a woman’s medical life.

“A mandated ultrasound is not considered a medical best practice. When women already have the option of receiving an ultrasound, there is no reason to require government intervention. A physician and a patient, working together, are the best judges of which procedures are medically necessary,” Sen. Barbara Favola (D – Arlington) said on the floor of the General Assembly.

Some abortion providers, including Planner Parenthood, already include ultrasounds as part of abortion services. Sen. Vogel said approximately 20 states across the country have passed similar legislation.