Abortion; informed consent, shall undergo ultrasound imaging, exceptions. (HB462)

Introduced By

Del. Kathy Byron (R-Lynchburg) with support from 26 copatrons, whose average partisan position is:

Those copatrons are Del. Dave Albo (R-Springfield), Del. Rich Anderson (R-Woodbridge), Del. Dickie Bell (R-Staunton), Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville), Del. Ben Cline (R-Amherst), Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg), Del. Anne Crockett-Stark (R-Wytheville), Del. Mark Dudenhefer (R-Stafford), Del. Matt Fariss (R-Rustburg), Del. Scott Garrett (R-Lynchburg), Del. Chris Head (R-Roanoke), Del. Gordon Helsel (R-Poquoson), Del. Riley Ingram (R-Hopewell), Del. Joseph Johnson (D-Abingdon), Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge), Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), Del. Danny Marshall (R-Danville), Del. Jimmie Massie (R-Richmond), Del. Rick Morris (R-Carrollton), Del. Israel O'Quinn (R-Bristol), Del. Brenda Pogge (R-Williamsburg), Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Glade Hill), Del. Lacey Putney (I-Bedford), Del. Margaret Ransone (R-Kinsale), Del. Nick Rush (R-Christiansburg), Del. Tony Wilt (R-Harrisonburg)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Abortion; informed consent.  Requires that, as a component of informed consent to an abortion, to determine gestation age, every pregnant female shall undergo ultrasound imaging and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion. The medical professional performing the ultrasound must obtain written certification from the woman that the opportunity was offered and whether the woman availed herself of the opportunity to see the ultrasound image or hear the fetal heartbeat. A copy of the ultrasound and the written certification shall be maintained in the woman's medical records at the facility where the abortion is to be performed. Amends § 18.2-76, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Passed

History

  • 01/10/2012 Committee
  • 01/10/2012 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/12 12102882D
  • 01/10/2012 Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
  • 01/13/2012 Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
  • 01/18/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB462)
  • 02/10/2012 Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (14-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/10/2012 Committee substitute printed 12105384D-H1
  • 02/10/2012 Incorporates HB261
  • 02/12/2012 Read first time
  • 02/13/2012 Read second time
  • 02/13/2012 Committee substitute agreed to 12105384D-H1
  • 02/13/2012 Speaker ruled Amendment by Delegate Herring not germane
  • 02/13/2012 Motion to pass by Amendments by Delegate Englin agreed to (64-Y 34-N)
  • 02/13/2012 VOTE: PASS BY (64-Y 34-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/13/2012 Pending question ordered
  • 02/13/2012 Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB462H1
  • 02/14/2012 Read third time
  • 02/14/2012 Pending question ordered
  • 02/14/2012 Passed House (63-Y 36-N)
  • 02/14/2012 VOTE: PASSAGE (63-Y 36-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/15/2012 Constitutional reading dispensed
  • 02/15/2012 Referred to Committee on Education and Health
  • 02/17/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB462H1)
  • 02/23/2012 Reported from Education and Health with substitute (8-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/23/2012 Committee substitute printed 12105616D-S1
  • 02/23/2012 Passed by for the day
  • 02/24/2012 Constitutional reading dispensed (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/27/2012 Read third time
  • 02/27/2012 Passed by temporarily
  • 02/27/2012 Passed by for the day
  • 02/28/2012 Read third time
  • 02/28/2012 Reading of substitute waived
  • 02/28/2012 Committee substitute agreed to 12105616D-S1
  • 02/28/2012 Motion to recommit to committee rejected (19-Y 21-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/28/2012 Floor substitute printed 12105657D-S2 (Howell)
  • 02/28/2012 Substitute by Senator Howell withdrawn 12105657D-S2
  • 02/28/2012 Amendment #7 by Senator Howell rejected (19-Y 21-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/28/2012 Amendment #1 by Senator Howell withdrawn
  • 02/28/2012 Amendment #8 by Senator Howell agreed to
  • 02/28/2012 Amendment #2 by Senator Howell rejected (19-Y 21-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/28/2012 Amendment #3 by Senator Howell rejected (19-Y 21-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/28/2012 Amendment #4 by Senator Howell rejected (20-Y 20-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/28/2012 Amendment #5 by Senator Howell rejected (20-Y 20-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/28/2012 Reading of amendment waived
  • 02/28/2012 Amendment #6 by Senator Howell rejected (20-Y 20-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/28/2012 Chair votes No
  • 02/28/2012 Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute with amendment HB462S1
  • 02/28/2012 Passed Senate with substitute with amendment (21-Y 19-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/29/2012 Placed on Calendar
  • 03/01/2012 Pending question ordered
  • 03/01/2012 Senate substitute with amendment agreed to by House 12105616D-S1 (61-Y 35-N)
  • 03/01/2012 VOTE: ADOPTION (61-Y 35-N) (see vote tally)
  • 03/02/2012 Enrolled
  • 03/02/2012 Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB462ER)
  • 03/02/2012 Signed by Speaker
  • 03/02/2012 Signed by President
  • 03/05/2012 Impact statement from DPB (HB462ER)
  • 03/07/2012 G Approved by Governor-Chapter 131 (effective 7/1/12)
  • 03/07/2012 G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0131)

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical duplicates of this one: SB484.

Comments

Angela writes:

Another obstructive bill - causing delay and increasing expense.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Note that most evidence shows that showing women ultrasounds prior to having an abortion makes them more likely to have an abortion, not less. That's because a fetus in the first trimester—when 90% of abortions takes place—doesn't look human. The New York Times quoted one woman at a Birmingham clinic:

“It just looked like a little egg, and I couldn’t see arms or legs or a face,” said Tiesha, 27, who chose to view her 8-week-old embryo before aborting it at the Birmingham clinic. “It was really the picture of the ultrasound that made me feel it was O.K.”

If the goal of this bill is to reduce abortions, all evidence points to it having the opposite effect.

Jean writes:

This is the worst kind of support for individual rights. It puts an emotional slant on a political and very personal issue. This issue should not be part of any governmental body. It is between a woman and her doctor.
I am very disappointed to be a Virginian today.

Michael writes:

Who could object to giving a woman more information about a medical procedure? If it were any other issue, would there be any objections to a bill that said "A doctor must tell you what he is going to do, and get your permission, before he does it"?

Dorothy writes:

Does the Virginia legislature require a medically unnecessary step as a prerequisite for any other medical procedure?!? Obviously not.
Women have the ability and the right (thank goodness) to make their own decisions. Pretending that a ultrasound benefits the woman is therefore both patronizing and hypocritical.
It is obvious that a mandated ultrasound would be for political purposes only.

robert legge writes:

Michael- You missuse the word "giving". As if it was being offered. Sounds more like an element of coercion as in "giving them the business". If you are really interested in the person, you would suggest offered them the opportunity to undergo this procedure and then viewing it. I don't have a great objection to offering this to patients, but they should have the option to say "no thanks". So don't make it out like this is something that they want.

Michael writes:

Robert - You and I seem to have a different understanding of the phrase "and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion"

Or is it that you object to being "forced" to have an ultrasound at all? Can I demand an appendectomy and then say "no thanks" when the doctor tries to take an xray?

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Or is it that you object to being "forced" to have an ultrasound at all? Can I demand an appendectomy and then say "no thanks" when the doctor tries to take an xray?

Abortions do not inherently require ultrasounds. This would require a procedure that is not medically necessary. That's the objection. One might as well require that women have root canal or a breast exam beforehand.

There are other problems with this bill. Like this bit:

[A]t least 2 hours before the performance of an abortion a qualified medical professional...shall perform fetal ultrasound imaging...

So an ultrasound is performed. And then nothing happens at all for two hours. It doesn't matter that the patient is ready, that the doctor is ready. She must go to the waiting room and sit there for 120 minutes. Why? What possible medical purpose does that serve? None, of course. The idea is that women who must drive very long distances to see a doctor will find it impossible to go, because the length of time for which they must secure childcare, get time off of work, find somebody to care for their elderly parent, etc. will become impossible to manage.

And this:

A printed copy of the ultrasound image shall be maintained in the woman's medical record at the facility where the abortion is to be performed for the longer of (i) seven years or (ii) the extent required by applicable federal or state law.

Huh? Why? As Jeff Schapiro notes for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the party that supports smaller, less intrusive government is creating a government mandate that every woman who has an abortion (or doesn't!) has to have a a photograph of her fetus kept on file, stored under her name, for at least seven years.

Michael writes:

Winthout an ultrasound, how can the doctor determine the gestational age? Unless you are one who advocates for completely unfettered access to abortion at any time up to moments before natural birth, what would you propose the doctor do to ensure that the abortion can be performed?

Before you get on your high horse (not that I think you will, but many do) and spout off some nonsense about "legislation not interfering with medical decisions", know that that argument carries no weight. Legislation frequently "interferes" with medical decisions and we're better off for it. Do you really want no regulation of medicine?

I'm impressed with the rest of your objections. You've cited specific portions of the bill and identified why you found them troublesome. I must admit that I too have trouble with them. Is this a case where the entire bill should be scrapped because of some poor sections? Would you still object to this bill if the recordkeeping requirements were stricken, and the time were reduced to something more reasonable? How about something like " The ultrasound is to be performed sufficiently beforehand so that the patient can be given the opportunity to see the results before administration of any anesthetic if any is to be given"

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Winthout an ultrasound, how can the doctor determine the gestational age?

Not infrequently a woman knows when she became pregnant, and she'll generally know when her last period was—the math is quite easy from there. This can be verified by a doctor by verifying some of the changes that occur in a woman's body as she proceeds through her pregnancy.

what would you propose the doctor do to ensure that the abortion can be performed?

I propose that the doctor do what the doctor determines to be medically necessary. If that is an ultrasound, great. If not, that's fine, too. But that's for a doctor to determine on a case-by-case basis, not the General Assembly. Congress shouldn't legislate precisely how our troops are to engage in battle, and the legislature shouldn't legislate precisely how doctors treat their patients. It's the guys with the boots on the ground who should make those calls.

Would you still object to this bill if the recordkeeping requirements were stricken, and the time were reduced to something more reasonable?

Those portions of the bill are evidence of the poor faith of its author, demonstrating that its goal is to intimidate pregnant women, and not to serve any legitimate medical purpose. The time requirement makes no sense.

I assume that you do not have any children or, if you do, that you did not accompany their mother to her medical appointments. I have a son who is not yet two months old. My wife had a pair of ultrasounds while pregnant (although not until much later in her pregnancy, for reasons that I will explain). A wand is pressed into the lower abdomen, which uses soundwaves to create an image on a screen that moves, as video, that allows the viewer to see within the body. The prenatal ultrasound facility that we went to is set up as I gather most are—there are a pair of screens, one positioned for the doctor and one positioned for the patient. No film has to be developed or anything. The notion that any time at all is required is nonsensical.

Now, let's be perfectly frank about how this ultrasound works. External ultrasound is of no value early in pregnancy, because the embryo is too small to be seen. (It's not even called a "fetus" until it's eight weeks along, which after when most abortions are done.) At six weeks of development, it's .2 inches long. Half a centimeter. Something that tiny can't be seen. What this law then requires is something called "transvaginal ultrasound." This law would mandate that women have a large object inserted into their vagina, where it is to be used to poke, prod, and twist until a good series of images can be taken of the contents of their uterus. It's quite painful for some women, and understandably so.

Here's a video demonstrating the vaginal ultrasound process:

If you find that video uncomfortable to watch, I remind you that this law mandates that this medically unnecessary procedure be performed on women, apparently in order to punish them for having an abortion. Personally, I'm uncomfortable with government requiring that women have large, painful objects inserted into their vaginas to take photographs that will be put in files bearing their names, for no medical purpose whatsoever. But maybe that's just me.

Claire writes:

Michael is pretending to be worried that without this legislation, doctors will perform abortions without having first determined gestational age. That raises two questions for me: first, why is it then also necessary for the doctor to offer to show the woman the ultrasound image? And second, is there evidence that large numbers of physicians are performing abortions without having first determined gestational age, and thus the legislation is necessary to prevent widespread health problems related to that failure?

To the first question, the answer is, of course, that there isn't a medical reason why we should legally require doctors to offer to show the woman the image. The woman has asked for an abortion, gone through the already-existing "safeguards" that ensure that her decision is an informed one (including a 24-hour waiting period), and has shown up for her appointment for an abortion. The doctor performs an ultrasound to determine gestational age, if he hasn't done so already. Why, medically speaking, should he be required to offer to show it to the woman and then to put the image in her file?

As to the second, if large numbers of doctors were carelessly proceeding with abortions without bothering to figure out gestational age, we'd be seeing large numbers of women hospitalized with the complications that would result. The procedure for how you perform an abortion changes depending on gestational age; if a doctor were proceeding on the assumption of a 12 week pregnancy and it turned out to be a 15 week pregnancy, that would very likely lead to serious complications. I believe most doctors perform an ultrasound on the patient's first visit anyway; if they have that ultrasound, there isn't a need to do a second one right before the abortion procedure.

And Waldo is right: a transvaginal ultrasound is invasive, really uncomfortable, quite a miserable experience. I had to have one when I miscarried a pregnancy at around 6-7 weeks--external ultrasound wasn't showing us anything, so we had go transvaginal to see if there was still a heartbeat. So I'm thinking that a woman who knows she wants an abortion, knows based on her sexual and ovulation history when she conceived, knows that she is only 6-7 weeks along, and the doctor feels in his/her judgment that she's right -- this woman should be legally required to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound? Can we legally require that for every woman who is forced by the state to undergo transvaginal ultrasound for a legal abortion, Senator Vogel ALSO has to undergo one?

Linilla writes:

Whenever the government requires a procedure that delays abortion, it is risking an INCREASE in the chance of an embryo feeling pain. Many abortions are performed before the embryo is capable of feeling pain, which is at around 6 weeks after fertilization. Since a woman typically suspects pregnancy between 2 and 3 weeks after fertilization, she has a window of opportunity of only about 3 weeks before the nervous system starts working and the embyro's heart starts beating.

If the state delays abortions by requiring extra processes or tests, it increases the chance that the abortion will cause pain to the embryo or "stop a beating heart." Thus the politicians become party to what they supposedly want to prevent!

If people are serious about not hurting a feeling embryo, they should encourage early abortions, not cause them to become later ones.

Laurie Tillett writes:

In all of these arguments, I've yet to hear the most logical, and most simple of all. If you truly want to reduce the abortion rate (which is quite low in Virginia BTW), then make contraception readily available for no cost (esp to low socioeconomic women) and provide early and sustained sex eduction. In those countries with more educated women, the abortion rates are lowered.

April Haynes writes:

Every woman in Virginia should be angered at this bill--outraged, even.

I won't go into the invasion of women's rights, the ACTUAL FORCIBLE PENETRATION of a woman without her consent (yes, folks, that's rape), and the implications on the medical profession and the Hippocratic Oath.

What I do know is that once again our illustrious Commonwealth has proven to be a national laughingstock. I've always been proud to be a Virginian, but I have to say, the past several years have made that difficult.

On a side note, thank heavens that there are other states within a short driving distance that are not throwbacks to the 19th century. Outsourcing jobs again, huh, Virginia?

Yaliina writes:

My main issue with this bill... well, I guess I have a lot of issues. I am not opposed to ultrasounds in general, and I am not opposed to a required proof of gestational age (GA) before an abortion. And not to "get on my high horse", but as far as the "legislators not interfering with medical decisions", I believe they are called state licenses and Board Certifications. These are not MAs we are asking to make calls here. We are talking about Board Certified Physicians who are much more qualified to make medical decisions than politicians. GA can be determined in any number of ways, none of which is really the business lawmakers, as several posters have evidenced (Right on, Waldo!).

How about the women who have abortions because they were victims of rape? These women, who have undergone sexual trauma, and now must make an awful decision, which is life-altering in and of itself, are being FORCED to endure another RAPE, not because their doctors think it is medically necessary (which I think we've established it likely is not), but because some rich, old politicians feel it makes them better conservatives to do everything in their power to shame women seeking abortions, and make it as difficult as possible. I agree that every one of them should have to undergo this procedure, or attend one at the least. I had it done when I was pregnant with my youngest son. It is NOT pleasant, and I am a healthy young mother with no hx of trauma.

You want to support this law, you should know the facts: The "device" they use looks like the biggest dildo you have ever seen- same shape and everything, covered with what is essentially a loose-fitting condom. The technician lubes it up with cold jelly, and you put your feet in the stirrups in the most vulnerable and humiliating position possible for a woman. Then the tech (a woman, if you're lucky) unceremoniously rams it up your vagina as far as possible and starts probing around in every direction, often pressing on your belly with the other hand to try to get a better angle. The procedure can take a long time, even at 8 weeks (when I had it done), and when they're through you are sticky and messy and it's extremely disgusting and dirty-feeling. Mind you, I had this procedure done in my own regular OB's office, with a woman tech, with my husband present, and I still felt raped. I will never consent to that procedure again, and I do not believe any law has any business forcing that experience on any woman.

Ultimately, this bill is sexist, it is a right-wing nut-job bill aiming at shaming women and making abortions as difficult as possible. I have never undergone one myself, thank God, but I have two friends who have, and let me tell you: it is pretty difficult as it stands. It is traumatizing to get pregnant accidentally, it is more so to realize that you have no support, no future, and no options. It is a horrific decision that women do not make lightly, contrary to the belief of the sexist pigs making these asinine laws and thinking they are more qualified to make decisions about women's bodies than physicians or, Gasp! women themselves!

It is not the business of legislators to create nit-picky laws dictating precisely how doctors treat patients. What if they come up with a more accurate or less-invasive measure of GA next year? Doctors will still be forced by outdated legislation to continue raping their patients to comply with the law. That is exactly why this type of legislation is not a good idea. Well, that and it's sexist.

Finally, I want to comment about the keeping the pic in the chart part of the law. Actually, this is the only part of the law I don't specifically object to. I do object to the way it's worded to make it about shaming, but medical records are already mandated to be kept for 7 years. That's just good patient record-keeping, and dictated by HIPPA.

Ann writes:

Women forced to submit to invasive ultrasound...
Virginia Republicans working to legally require the rape of women. Appalling and shameful day to be a member of this party.
Time to register as an independent.

Karen p writes:

I was fascinated to see that Kathy Byron spoke out AGAINST hpv vaccination on the basis that the state shouldn't interfere in a private decision between a doctor and a patient. She proudly posts a video clip of this on her Facebook page which you should have a look at before she smartens up and removes it. Yet she proposes that the State of Virginia should mandate an invasive, unnecessary procedure not even recommended by your doctor......

Kaye writes:

Should men have to have a "sperm count" performed before they opt in for a vasectomy? Are we putting warning labels on condoms? May prevent a pregnancy and if so you could be charged with murder? Are you from the party that says there is too much Government? Kill this Bill!

Jean L. writes:

Now I know why our nephew who lives in MD asked us, 4 yrs ago, "Why would you want to live in VIRGINIA?" With submissive, 18th-century female legislators like Byron, a kooky Atty Gen like Kookanelli and a Gov. like McDonnell who pretends to be somewhat moderate, I certainly get it now. As soon as property prices recover we're getting out of here!

It'll be hilarious to see VA's population dwindle when nothing but gun-toting, porn-watching men are left here!!!!

Common Sense writes:

To every GOP lawmaker in the Virginia General Assembly: SHAME ON YOU. This is a punitive, invasive bill proffered by a party that is so bereft of real moral values that it constantly contradicts itself without any apparent self-awareness. "Cognitive dissonance" indeed, to claim to be against government invasion into private lives when it comes to gun ownership or banning HPV vaccinations for our daughters -- but then to support this odious bill.

The political party of self-proclaimed "Christians" wants to ram its self-righteous definitions of "sin" by punishing all women -- and, of course, making it even that much MORE difficult to terminate a pregnancy, despite that procedure still being completely and perfectly legal across the land.

Well, you know what? To every GOP lawmaker in the Virginia General Assembly: Look out, 'cause here we come -- the MILLIONS of women (and decent men) of this state who are gonna make sure you don't get to pass any more laws. You are OUT of office next time around!

Sabs writes:

Good to know that if I ever feel like getting some good ol' state sanctioned penetration, I can head to Virginia!
This bill is an abomination. It is a massive overstep of state's rights over the individual. All medical decisions should be privately between a physician and the patient, not the state. Abortion is a legal procedure. Deal with it.

J.R. Hoeft writes:

This is commonsense legislation.

It's already a procedure that the National Abortion Federation recommends as a "best practice" prior to an abortion.

The only thing the anti-life crowd is concerned about is not the sonogram itself, but the fact that the mother might SEE the sonogram. Oh, the horror of seeing your unborn child.

Sarah writes:

J.R. Hoeft, did you even read the prior comments posted? There are a great many with excellent points and personal experiences directly on point. I urge you to read them to broaden your horizons.

By the way, have you seen the ultrasound machine they use? It's bigger than most dildos (not to mention the average penis), as in 8-10 inches long. And they want to put that inside a woman's vagina in order for her to get a Constitutionally protected medical procedure.

If it's possible to determine when the pregnancy was conceived using other methods (methods used since long before such technology was invented), why on earth would anyone force a woman to have that thing inserted inside her?

And if the bill was specifically written so say that the woman is *not* forced to actually view the image of the fetus or zygote, why would the "anti-life crowd" be upset about this legislation? They wouldn't be, using your logic.

On another note, I do not believe there is any "anti-life" group of people, simply pro-choice. No one is ever excited about an abortion. It is an incredibly difficult decision to make and an intensely personal one.

A common misconception seems to be that a large number of woman are using abortion as a kind of "birth control." While it is true that by definition and strictly speaking, abortion is a kind of birth control, women are not using this procedure as contraception. I do not believe there are women out there who casually go get an abortion and treat it as if it is a visit to the salon. No woman treats this issue lightly.

For one it is an expensive procedure (hundred of dollars - which for some low income families can be a single week's paycheck). Two, even before the abortion, multiple visits and consultations are required, which take time and can require long distance traveling, not to mention missing work. It is not 'made easy' for anyone and is in fact purposely designed to be difficult in order to give the woman the opportunity to weigh her decision.

On a final note, an abortion is already an invasive medical procedure *without* a stranger inserting a 8-10 inch long, 3 inch round, piece of lubed up plastic inside a woman's vagina.

M.A. writes:

Sarah-

Thank you for the very thoughtful and well written reply that explains the issue rather clearly from the pro-choice standpoint. I agree with you 100%.

Also, JR Hoeft writes for the extreme right blog/paper/whatever it is Bearing Right (which he made sure to link to by clicking on his name--shameless self plug there huh?) and often uses manipulation and logical fallacy tactics in his arguments. It is also interesting to see who donates to this 'paper'...but I digress

One of the main argument he keeps making in various reincarnations is that this promotes the health of the woman in some way. He even keeps referring to this mandate in the National Abortion Federation, which upon inspection does exist. As it states in the NAF's Medical Policy on page 9, {However, over the years, especially in higher resource settings, it has become widely used. Compliance with NAF standards for the use of limited ultrasound in abortion care will enhance the accuracy and reliability of ultrasound findings in this setting, thus improving the quality of care.}
BUT
-oh yes there is more- the argument falls apart when you include the sentence that appears DIRECTLY BEFORE it in the same manual {The use of ultrasound is NOT A REQUIREMENT for the provision of first trimester abortion care services.}
Or as many on this page have pointed out, an unnecessary medical procedure. Basically, it is not required but NAF was merely pointing out if the doctor was going to use it to follow the proper guidelines. HOWEVER, that decision should be left up to the doctor and the patient NOT the Virginia General Assembly or Governor McDonnell.

I do applaud someone who believes life begins at conception. But I do not understand why many of those same people don't seem to care after birth ?

Waldo Jaquith writes:

In the Washington Post, Anita Kumar writes:

Until this weekend, [Governor Bob] McDonnell (R) and his aides had said the governor would sign the measure if it made it to his desk. McDonnell, who strongly opposes abortion, will no longer make that commitment.

But delegates and governor’s staff were scheduled to meet Tuesday night to strike a compromise after learning that some ultrasounds could be more invasive than first thought, according to two officials who were aware of the meeting but not authorized to speak about it publicly. Many of the bill’s supporters were apparently unaware of how invasive the procedure could be, one of the officials added.

I suspect that a lot of supporters' wives, daughters, or mothers have informed them of precisely how invasive that it is to have a 10" probe inserted into their vagina. This bill, again, mandates this procedure, even on women who do not require it.

A good equivalent for this bill's supporters to consider is having a 10" probe inserted into their rectum before buying a firearm. Medically necessary? Probably not. But that's not the point, is it?

K.A. writes:

This bill is paramount to rape. It would be a first for the "Land of the free and the home of the brave" to pass legislation that would infringe on the basic human rights of half the population of this state, giving the government the right to "forcibly penetrate a woman against her will." Doesn't it sound crazy to the majority of our citizens that the G.O.P.'s argument for the right to gun ownership and against the HPV vaccine is infringement of privacy and that Obamacare is unconstitutional because it is so far reaching?

I believe that institutions like Liberty University are behind these types of legislation and are on a fervent campaign to legislate their morality into our society. We need to be vigilant to insure our society doesn't regress on our human rights. What next, public stoning?

whatnow writes:

WOW! Eye-opening comments! This bill clearly invades the private doctor-patient relationship and is only designed to make the abortion alternative more inconvenient and costly. Are the legislators claiming they have the qualifications to interfere with a private decision between a docotor and a patient? It's NOT the business of lawmakers to force this procedure on anyone. They're wasting time and money debating this. If you don't believe in abortion, don't get one...that is your CHOICE. Now please get back to discussing the economy and jobs!

Chuck Hawkins writes:

One of the issues is that abortionists are performing ultrasounds as part of the routine procedure to determine gestational age and placental sac postion. Then the abortionist is NOT giving the women access to the ultrasound even when they ask. Since this is an informed consent bill, the bill should stipulate that if an ultrasound is performed that the woman should be fully informed that an ultrasound was performed and fully notified that she has every right to see that ultrasound. There is a financial incentive for an abortionist to deny this information to the woman because some might choose to not have the abortion. The law needs to correct this imbalance in favor of the patient.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

One of the issues is that abortionists are performing ultrasounds as part of the routine procedure to determine gestational age and placental sac postion. Then the abortionist is NOT giving the women access to the ultrasound even when they ask.

That's the first I've ever heard of such a thing, Chuck! In all of the discussion about this bill, I've never heard this problem brought up. If true, it would be shocking. All patients have a right to their own medical records, period. Any doctor withholding the results of ultrasounds should have his license suspended. If that's the problem, though, then the solution is a law that penalizes doctors who fail to provide medical records upon request. After all, why limit it to fetal ultrasounds?

John K writes:

Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel may be the WORST legislator in the US, although I suspect the Taliban may make her an honorary member. She should be ashamed of herself for this intrusive bill, which is nothing more than state-sanctioned rape. Hopefully, her constituents will also be horrified by her actions and vote her. All I know is that Vogel and the right wing wacko Republicans have finally moved me out of the independent column into the DEMOCRAT side. And BTW, if our looney governor and that crazy man Marshall don't think its intrusive, next time they get a rectal exam from their doctor they should ask to have this probe used. Of course, its for their own good.

Berryvillian writes:

Sen. Holtzman is the worst thing to happen to Virginia...EVER! Shame on you for supporting a trash piece of legislation such as this. As far as I'm concerned, the end of your term can't come soon enough. I'll help you pack so you can get the hell out of Richmond faster.

A smith writes:

Statement made by McDonnell 2-22-2012

“I am pro-life. I believe deeply in the sanctity of innocent human life and believe governments have a duty to protect human life.
========================

And as soon as a woman gives birth, then it is the state's responsibility to protect that human life.

Until the government is prepared to give a fetus a SSN at conception, the fetus does NOT belong to the government.

How McDonnell and his family live their PERSONAL lives is their personal business. It is neither his right nor his responsibility to throw obstacles in the way of a woman who chooses to have a legal medical procedure.

McDonnell can deeply believe in anything he wants -- within the confines of his home. He needs to stay out of mine, along with all the others in the General Assembly who support this and other like bills that have not place in the General Assembly.

Chris D. writes:

This legislation is a 13th century atrocity. Go fix the economy, balance the budget, and leave women's bodies alone.

John Bradley Copeland writes:

Anyone who supports this bill should be ashamed. I would never call you a friend of a woman. This bill is totally about the power of the state to abuse women who have made a decision to have an abortion. The same woman should not have to have the State of Virginia rape her in order to obtain a legal medical procedure. Sen. Vogel is a despicable person for sponsoring this bill and I intend on calling every one of her current supporters in business to ask if they plan to continue that support and post the responses for all to see and know who to boycott. I can not imagine that Vogel will have many women friends after this unless they hate women like she does. SHAME!

Mark writes:

As an MD let me correct an all too common misconception. Embryology of the fetus is pretty clear in defining the development of the brains structures. Until about 21wks, the portion of the brain responsible for interpretation of stimuli, emotions, feelings, etc, hasn't even begun to develop. Although the fetus can demonstrate brainstem functions such as a heart beat, reflex arcs, and the like, the portion of the brain responsible for interpretation of anything, does not yet exist! Therefore, despite what many might tell you (or like to believe), a fetus is incapable of experiencing pain until approximately the third trimester! Just as a physician can elicit a knee jerk response from a paraplegic without them feeling it, the same analogy applies to a first or second trimester fetus. Don't let anyone tell you any differently, and if you don't trust my credentials, please go check out a medical text on embryology and see for yourself. It's totally deplorable that "morally" upstanding people would resort to misinformation to harass those women electing to have an abortion.

Sarah writes:

Thank you to Mark, Waldo, Robert, John, Chris and all the other men who have come out against this bill. Thank you for standing up for your sisters, mothers and daughters. You are good men!

Mitchell Goldstein writes:

This bill has nothing to do with informed consent and everything to do with invading deeply personal decisions.

Now, I want to know who is going to pay for the forced medical procedure? After all, our Attorney General believes that the government cannot require individuals to have medical insurance. Without medical insurance, I hope that the supporters of this bill are planning on paying for it.

Cindy Nettles writes:

Please, nothing good can come of this bill. Another invasion of private and personal rights. I hope that everyone remembers just who voted this in and takes appropriate action come election time. It is time to take our lives back from government intrusion. Sorry folks, big brother is getting bigger.

Carol Anderson writes:

Aparently the bill just passed the Senate with Amendments and is now going back to the house....Watch out representatives - its not gonna be pretty. http://www.womensstrikeforce.org/

Dave writes:

Republicans are funny. Your bill will

-create a more invasive government
-cost the taxpayer more money
-increase the cost of medical care
-create more poor people (i.e., Democrats)

Keep it up...your party will soon be irrelevant!

David Cartwright writes:

Let me get this strait...this bill requires an abdominal ultrasound even though an abdominal ultrasound will show nothing in the first trimester (when most abortions take place0 then said bogus ultrasound picture (showing no fetus) must be kept in the woman's medical record for 7 years? Way to go. Why does there need to be a record for 7 years in a medical chart? A Scarlet letter perhaps? To publicly brand the woman as a woman who elected to have an abortion?

Never mind that this bill requires a needless procedure that is in majority of cases will be totally ineffective, but very costly and allow the faceless government bureaucracy the right and ability to intrude into Virginian's private life.

All I'm seeing in this instance is the Republican Party trying to re-brand itself as the new and improved, big brother American Taliban Party. Seriously, and you have the audacity to complain about Obamacare? Why? The Dem's are amateurs in comparison to the Republicans when it comes to big brother medical legislation apparently.

A smith writes:

Womens Strike Force: Do you share our outrage at the Virginia General Assembly’s legislative assault on women? Join our efforts to recruit and support candidates opposing any elected official who supported the “personhood” or mandatory ultrasound legislation in the 2012 Virginia General Assembly.

We are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents joining together to fight for women.

Our bi-partisan group will work to support and elect candidates who will bring respect for women back to an arena of civil discourse and put a stop to the legislative attacks on women.

http://www.womensstrikeforce.com
=====================================

Virginia doesn't own my v a g i n a

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybs_kDYrlQs

A smith writes:

During the House debates, David Albo (Fairfax County, District 42) was one of the more belligerent and condescending of the lot. Reviewing the 2011 election results which show Albo defeated Dobby with 62% of the votes .... however, only 36% of the voters turned out in this district.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRyRSlammXI

The commonwealth roads and bridges are in need of repair, our social services (for citizens only, not illegals) are being cut, our schools need funding to meet all the mandates, and this is what Albo wastes time discussing on the floor of the General Assembly.

Something tells me, with this (and I'm sure there are other videos out there) as campaign ammo, it won't be hard to bring another 40% of the voters out to replace this pugnacious cad with someone (man or woman) who has a better understanding of decorum when publicly representing the people of Virginia.

This man must go.

Anthony Hogan writes:

Del. Kathy Byron (R-Lynchburg) should be ashamed of herself for introducing this bill. VERY ASHAMED of herself!

Anthony Hogan writes:

ALL OF THE REPUBLICAN WOMEN WHO VOTED FOR THIS, SHAME ON YOU! This is not right, and you've been BULLIED into voting for something YOU truly don't believe is RIGHT! Vote with your conscience, not with those NEANDERTHALS!

Michelle writes:

How does this make government smaller? How does this educate our children? And how does this create jobs (aside from a few ultrasound technicians, many of whom are against this bill) Look, Governor, if you send people off to war, then you really aren't fooling anyone that you are indeed pro-life, so step away from Virginian's vaginas and just veto, thank you.

Leslie Durr writes:

I emailed this to the Governor Saturday:

Do you realize that before 6 weeks, an abdominal ultrasound is not very effective at visualizing the POC? (products of conception = medical term for embryo, not a person)
So, do you want women to wait until their pregnancy has advanced before making the difficult decision to end the pregnancy for reasons only they, their partner and their doctor may know?

This is NOT about applying medical procedures "for a woman's own good", it's about control, plain and simple. You have touched the third rail of privacy in reproductive rights and I hope you are willing to kiss any national election opportunities good bye if you sign it. I will do my best to make it happen.

Andrea writes:

This has been the most educated civilized discussion I've ever read online. I believe it's all been said. All I can ad is my personal experience. I'm glad I got an abortion before this passed. It's my right, my body, my life. Can you even think of a more personal decision? If this doesn't deserves protection from government interference NOTHING DOES. And while the current political climate might be anti-women now, who will it be tomorrow? Will any of your most dearly held rights and privacy be respected? NO, not if this passes. I'm moving out of Virgina. I am ashamed to live in such a backwards state.

Andrea writes:

The governor just signed it. Where is the outrage? Who is organizing a protest? Will we stand for our rights or let them be trampled on and destroyed? I hear everyone say how disgusted they are with this, what will we do about it! Does everyone here realize that the government is FORCING victims of RAPE and INCEST to have a USELESS medical procedure done which may be against her doctors orders and is required to pay for it to boot! Talk about insult to injury. Only women who make an official report to the police are exempted. Many women are so traumatized after rape/incest the last thing that want to do is report it, and that's their RIGHT. Even working up the courage to seek medical attention is a huge step and what do we do, set up road blocks in their way. Victims of these most heinous and debasing crimes are having their autonomy and personal security taken away from them again, by Mr. McDonnell and this atrocious piece of vile lawmaking.

Steve writes:

McDonnell (VP Vaginal Probe) is shameless. I don't know how he can show his face around his house or neighborhood without being ridiculed for signing (and supporting) such an archaic bill. How does a man with daughters even consider such an intrusive piece of garbage legislation, is his wife clueless too? I guess he always thinks it's the other person that stuff happens to, not his family members. I hope he never has to experience the effect of his misguided legislation from the other side, although it might help pull his head from his rectum.
I never supported this guy, he has too many hidden character flaws, and now the dark side is coming out. Shame on the Democrats for staying home and pouting about the hard fight President Obama has had to sustain for three years. Stay home this November and let the republicans take the senate and white house and women's rights will be stripped away altogether. You might even lose the right to vote, you obviously can't make decisions about your own body! Wake up, what did you expect from these clowns!
Cosgrove, I thought good of you for voting NO the first few times but you changed your vote to Yes in the final bill so shame on you too. I will not vote for you because you have made women second class citizens when you removed their RIGHT (by law) of free choice.

Steve writes:

Excellent understanding and comments by Waldo.
Michael, until you have a 10 inch probe inserted in you for your prostate exam, you should just sit back and listen to the women whom this bill affects. What allows these old white men to believe they know best about everything? We are lazy electrets, if the media had meaningful debates and we had honest candidate information, half of these clowns would be tossed out or in prison. Shame on us!

Sick and Tired writes:

I just don't understand what this country is coming to...

This is plain and simple, just one more way to throw a wrench into our abortions rights. Pretty soon, they will pass a bill requiring a sketch artist to draw what he/she would think the baby would look like at age 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 and MAKE you view the sketches!! Are you kidding me?

Kudos for putting the video of that probe that looks more like a penis...I mean, I would feel like I was being raped or something... So, what they are saying is, they approve of forced rape by a tool, but not abortion? Did these people that are making/passing this bill ever masturbate? Because if they did, they killed potential children as their sperm hit the floor.

Bottom line: I asked this pro-lifer once how she would feel if abortion was illegal and her daughter got pregnant (like Sarah Palin's did...yes, even 'good girls' get pregnant!) and her daughter was scared to tell her and went to a crack house to get an abortion (like they did in the olden days) where the abortion was performed by some quack, and she walked into her daughter's room only to see that she had bled to death in the night... I asked her how she would feel then...

She did not answer me, but her eyes said it all...

Abortion is like prostitution. It will always be here, whether you rape us with an instrument or not. So, just stop with this nonsense.

If you think this is right, then we should pass a law saying that doctors MUST stick a tube through your penis all the way to your sperm and make you see it before performing a vasectomy...sheeesh...