The Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday delayed a vote for one day on legislation that would require a woman to receive a medically unnecessary ultrasound before terminating her pregnancy.
Two legislators told The Virginian-Pilot that lawmakers are considering softening the legislation by making an ultrasound optional rather than mandatory.
The bill sparked outrage because it would require a woman to 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.
Del. Lionel Spruill (D) said the bill would “force what I consider a legal rape with an ultra sound probe.”
Other Democratic lawmakers blasted the bill on Tuesday as well.
“The national conversation about Virginia is about whether a vaginal probe is a mandatory requirement before a woman exercises her constitutional right,” Del. Charniele Herring (D) said on the House floor. “It is time to end the shame that has been brought to this state by this bill.”
Republicans did not defend the bill on the House floor.
The bill also requires that a copy of the ultrasound image be kept on the woman’s medical records.
Del. David J. Toscano (D) urged the House to delay the bill indefinitely, but his motion failed by a 68 to 32 vote Tuesday.
The Senate approved the bill last week.
Fifty-five percent of Virginia voters oppose the legislation, according to a Christopher Newport University/Richmond Times-Dispatch poll.
Woman getting ultrasound photo via Shutterstock