Virginia Ultrasound Law to Improve Health Care Standard for Women Seeking Abortion

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell on Wednesday signed into law a bill that requires women to obtain an ultrasound before having an abortion.

Virginia is now the seventh state to require an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion. The new bill exempts women who have been raped or are victims of incest, as long as the incident has been reported to police.

Some pro-abortion advocates have called the bill "state-required rape," a point of view that has been largely refuted.

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"Abortion advocates have engaged in a vicious campaign of misinformation against a proposal that would require a life-saving ultrasound test before giving women an abortion-inducing drug or an abortion procedure," Americans United for Life CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest said in a statement Wednesday.

Pro-life advocates have applauded the new bill, calling it a "gold standard" in medical care.

"We know that women with ectopic pregnancies have died when given life-ending drugs, which makes it particularly egregious that abortion advocates fought to prevent women from having all the medical information they need for informed consent. Ultrasounds are the gold standard of medical care, and women deserve to have such testing," Yoest stated.

Olivia Gans, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, has also stated that her group is "grateful that the Senate supported the right of women to have access to this critical and relevant medical information about their own bodies and their unborn children before they make the irreversible decision for an abortion."

The bill passed will be the second revision, the initial proposal requiring women to have a transvaginal ultrasound. The more invasive procedure drew widespread criticism, prompting McDonnell to consider a revision.

"Having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done," McDonnell said. "Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state."

"No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure," the governor added, saying he wants the legislature to "explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily."

Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation who was in support of mandating a more invasive procedure, accepted the compromise. "At the end of the day we hope that we will have a law that protects women and unborn children to the best of our ability."

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