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Virginia Mandatory Ultrasound Bill Passes In State Senate

Virginia Mandatory Ultrasound

First Posted: 02/28/2012 3:25 pm Updated: 02/28/2012 3:37 pm

The Virginia Senate narrowly passed a bill on Tuesday by a vote of 21-19 that would require women to have an ultrasound procedure 24 hours prior to having an abortion.

The Senate passed a similar bill earlier this month that would have required women to undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound procedure. After that bill stirred up a firestorm of controversy, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) helped House Republicans write and pass a revised bill that mandates the more common transabdominal procedure, even when it's not deemed medically necessary or the woman does not want to have it.

Senate Democrats charged that even though the controversial transvaginal procedure would not be mandated, the bill still constituted government overreach into women's personal medical decisions and the doctor-patient relationship.

"We have taken out the state required rape from the bill, but the way it is now is still an assault because it's an unwanted touching," Sen. Janet Howell (D) told HuffPost on Monday, "and the woman is being coerced to have that happen in order to exercise her constitutional right to an abortion."

Republicans, meanwhile, framed it as an informed consent issue, arguing that the bill would enable pregnant woman to discover the age of the developing fetus before deciding whether to terminate the pregnancy.

The bill now goes to McDonnell, who is expected to sign it into law.

"Virginia will have a strong women's right to know bill to provide the information necessary to make fully informed consent," he said of the bill at a Politico panel on Friday, "So I think it's the right decision."

This story is developing...

Earlier on HuffPost:

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