VA Senate Votes Down Ultrasound Mandate

Feb 11, 2014

The Virginia Senate has approved legislation to repeal the state law passed two years ago that requires women to have an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion.  The measure was initially defeated—then in a dramatic reversal, was revived.

Bill sponsor Senator Mamie Locke said ultrasounds may not be medical necessary, and those that are can be performed without this law.

“One individual testified in the committee meeting that the mandated ultrasound opens a window to the womb. On behalf of the majority of Virginia’s women, I ask that we close that window, pull down the shade, protect the woman’s privacy, and let women and physicians make health care decisions, not the government,”

Senator Bill Stanley countered that ultrasounds are a best medical practice to find out if pregnancies are beyond the first trimester, when abortions must be done in hospitals.

“Adrienne Schreiber, an official of Planned Parenthood’s Washington, D.C., regional office, was quoted in the press by saying, ‘That’s just the medical standard’ .  She further stated, ‘To confirm the gestational age of the pregnancy before any procedure is done, you do an ultrasound.’”

The bill was killed on an 18-22 vote, then reconsidered, and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam broke the tie.

“Ayes 20, No’s 20, the chair votes Aye. The bill passes.”

A bill to allow insurers to cover abortions in the federal health insurance exchange was defeated.

The bill now heads to the House.