Two Democrats joined with Republicans in the Virginia Senate on Tuesday to approve a watered-down version of controversial legislation that requires women to receive an ultrasound before having an abortion.
One Republican, state Sen. John Watkins, voted against it.
The “informed consent” bill ignited a firestorm this month because it initially required women to receive a trans-vaginal ultrasound. Del. Lionel Spruill (D) said the bill would “force what I consider a legal rape with an ultra sound probe.”
Virginia Republicans toned down the bill so that it only requires external ultrasounds. But any doctor who fails to perform the procedure could be prosecuted under the new law. The bill also requires that a copy of the ultrasound image be kept on the woman’s medical records.
“Today’s vote continues the humiliating turn to which Virginia Republicans have subjected the people of this Commonwealth since they exerted control over our government this year,” Brian Moran, chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said.
“Over the last few weeks Republicans in the General Assembly have made Virginia a national joke and today Senate Republicans delivered the punch line. No matter what Bob McDonnell and his cadre of fringe extremists think, the General Assembly has no business mandating a procedure on a woman, invasive or not.”
Due to changes the Senate made to the bill, the Virginia House must again approve the measure before it heads to Gov. McDonnell’s desk. The Republican governor is expected to sign the bill.
Woman getting ultrasound photo via Shutterstock