The bill sparked outrage because it would require a woman receive a trans-vaginal ultrasound before an abortion, and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus and hear its heartbeat. Most abortions are performed in the first trimester, when the fetus is too small to be viewed by an abdominal ultrasound.
“This bill is physically invasive for women as well as an intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “This is the epitome of government invasion into a woman’s right to privacy. Let’s be clear, politicians have just voted to mandate that a woman undergo a transvaginal ultrasound despite her wishes.”
The bill also requires that a copy of the ultrasound be kept on the woman’s medical records.
Only 36 percent of Virginia voters support the bill, which is expected to head to the governor’s desk this week.
In response to the bill, Virginia state Sen. Janet Howell (D) introduced an amendment in January that would have required men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining erectile dysfunction medication like Viagra.
“We need some gender equity here,” she told the Huffington Post. “The Virginia Senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we’re going to do that to women, why not do that to men?”
The Republican-led Senate narrowly rejected her proposed amendment by a 21 to 19 vote.
“This is more of a message type of an amendment, so I was pleased to get 19 votes,” Howell said.
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