Abortion Ultrasound Bill Passes Va. Senate

by ARLnow.com February 29, 2012 at 11:34 am 6,191 79 Comments

Yesterday the Virginia Senate narrowly passed a controversial bill that requires pregnant women to undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion.

The bill passed by the state Senate had been amended to only require an external ultrasound, following a furor over the fact that the original version would have mandated invasive transvaginal ultrasounds for most first trimester pregnancies.

On a bipartisan vote, the bill was also amended to exclude rape and incest victims from the ultrasound requirement. That amendment was proposed by Sen. Janet Howell (D), who represents part of Arlington. Other amendments proposed by Howell, including amendments that would have mandated insurance companies to cover the cost of the procedure, were rejected on a party line vote.

Howell criticized the bill, even in its amended form, for requiring a medical procedure that’s not medically necessary.

“Before this bill was amended, there were those who talked about it as ‘state rape.’ And Republicans voted for it,” Howell said. “The amended bill goes from state rape to state assault. And Republicans have now voted for state assault on women.”

Sen. Barbara Favola (D), of Arlington, also weighed in.

“I’m personally offended as a woman that the state of Virginia doesn’t trust my judgment about making intimate personal decisions about my body and my reproductive health,” Favola said in a statement. “This is the height of government intervention stomping on my constitutional rights. What will be next?”

Republicans argued that the ultrasound bill allows women to make a better informed decision before getting an abortion. The amended bill will now head to the House of Delegates, where it’s expected to pass, before landing on Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk, where it’s expected to be signed.

  • novasteve

    Is the abortion medically necessary?

    • Steamboat Willie

      The abortion could be medically necessary. Regardless, it is protected by the Constitution and the right of a woman to have the procedure has been affirmed by the Supreme Court.

      But that’s probably too much information for you.

      • novasteve

        The vast majority of abortions are NOT for rape or to save the life of the mother. There is NOTHING in the constution about aboriton. And if there’s a “right to privacy” why do we get fondled when we fly on airplanes? Why am I told what I ckind of lightbulb i can use, what kind of appliance, etc?

        • Haupt

          There are a lot of rights that citizens enjoy that aren’t explicitly stated in the Constitution – but you’re the lawyer, so I assume you’re being pedantic. It doesn’t matter WHAT the abortion is for if the Supreme Court agrees that it is a private decision.

          • novasteve

            Why isn’t it allowable for one to sell their kidney? That’s a “private decision” that can be outlawed.

            What’s so special about baby killing?

          • dk

            Obviously, people just enjoy killing babies.


            Since abdominal ultrasound cannot “see” an embryo, one wonders what additional “information” is going to be furnished to anyone, medical provider or patient.

            You can’t have it both ways. Either the “information” is needed, in which case only a transvaginal ultrasound will do, or the information is not needed, in which case no ultrasound should be required. If the goal here is to provide “information,” this bill is useless.

            Clearly, this was never about abortion but rather about creating additional hassles for women and medical providers.

          • Numbers Sense

            Accurate. Same is true for the provision regarding space in a clinic that required a higher standard than most health clinics. It has nothing to do with what is best for anyone. How could it be when the body making the decision is not made up of medical staff?

          • Babykiller

            No killing babies? But what else do I get to hunt in the gap between between deer and rabbit season?

            Remember, kids: Every sperm is sacred.

          • Regular Arlington Girl

            It’s to add time to the procedure during which medical staff can talk a woman out of it. Same medical staff that will later complain that our taxes are too high and there’s too much being spent on welfare purposes, such as state housing kids parents’ can’t take care of

        • tess

          Nor is there anything against it in the Constitution.

          • jackson

            If only the forefathers had cared enough to toss a line into the constitution about abortion, then people would be defending it as rigorously as they do the right to purchase as many guns as you want in Virginia. Alas, the constitution was written at a time when black people were property and women couldn’t vote.

          • drax

            You’ve gone and read the 9th amendment, haven’t you Tess?

    • tess

      Maybe not, but nobody is MANDATING it either – or did you not catch that part?

  • dallynd

    ” …. to ONLY require and external ultrasound …” ? Not getting it. They’re legislating unnecessary medical care. As offensive as the transvaginal requirement was, it’s no less egregious for the legislature to mandate a a medically unnecessary procedure regardless of the nature. Those decisions are to be made between patient and doctor. Moreover, compelled speech on behalf of the physician is a violation of the First Amendment. Overreaching.

    • jackson

      This comes from a state where its attorney general is fighting Obama to keep government from making health insurance decisions.

  • Sam

    I’m a Republican and I’m embarrassed that our party and our leaders are just so darn ignorant.

    So, you don’t want government interference in our medical care, so that’s why you hate “Obamacare”, but you just decided that women are too stupid to make a decision about their own healthcare, or life, that you have now decided to interfere in their medical procedures? Is it only men who shouldn’t have a say-so in their medical care?

    How about this? You make this law, but you make a law stating that the sperm donor, whether it’s a friend, a rapist, a boyfriend, whatever have to pay for it, sit through it, talk about it, etc. If I were a lawyer, I’d be all over the discrimination in this law since it adversely affects only one gender – and two were involved in the process. Two should have to suffer the consequences. It is not only the woman’s responsibility to have to deal with the affects of a pregnancy, wanted or unwanted.

    Not that any of the numnuts who voted for this care one bit – but you’ve just ensured that the majority of women run as fast as they can from the Republican party. And, I’m going to be right next to them looking for candidates who understand that the fringe right and/or fringe left is not where the majority of us are…

    • Sam

      “Is it only men who SHOULD have a say-so….”

    • D'oh!

      I lean to the left, and came here to make this same point. Both sides can be hypocritical, and we should call them out on it.

      • brif

        Please provide a bill passed by Virginia Senate Democrats demonstrating comparable hypocrisy.

        • D'oh!

          I never said anything about this bill being comparable with anything, because it’s not. Personally, I hope it gets overturned by the courts. And that karma kicks the heads in of those who voted for it.

          But god forbid I use a rhetorical strategy to encourage poeple to look critically at their own party. Instead let’s just yell at each other on the internet.

          • brif

            you said both sides can be hypocritical, yet you don’t seem able to provide an example. Not much of a rhetorical strategy.

          • D'oh!

            I urge you to look up the definition of rhetorical strategy.

          • brif

            i don’t see how the definition of rhetorical strategy allows you to avoid providing an example of something to defend your own statement. you should be more critical of your own statements before you encourage other people to do anything.

          • Josh S

            This argument exchange makes no sense.

          • brif

            It makes no sense to ask for an example of something?

          • Teresa

            “And that karma kicks the heads in of those who voted for it.”

            Me, too. They so deserve it.

      • Numbers Sense

        You are correct on this point.

        Also correct that this one is beyond comparison.

    • novasteve

      You are no Republican. The reason why republicans oppose the obamacare is because of the mandate, which is unconstitutional on the federal level. it would be permissible, though probably unwise, for there to be an insurance mandate done at the STATE level. It’s a question of federalism. If you were really a republican you would have known that.

      • Vik

        So Republicans don’t mind big gov’t at the state level? Real Republicans, who have principles and who are consistent, oppose big gov’t interfering into the personal lives of people at all levels of gov’t.

        I didn’t like the hyperbole, calling it state-sponsored rape, but from a big government standpoint, this bill is unnecessary. I do know that there are some people who second-guess their decision after hearing a heartbeat and seeing the ultrasound, but the gov’t has no business being involved in this process. As alluded to many times, planned parenthood, along with those ‘socialist hellholes’ in Western Europe, already perform transvaginal ultrasounds on the vast majority of people who are at early stages of their preganancy w/o the gov’t telling them to do it.

        • novasteve

          If you noticed, i said they would have to consider the wisdom of it, but the states HAVE the police power to do that, the question is SHOULD they. But the federal government absolutely lacks the power to do it.

          The real issue here is that the entire liberal argument for abortion as a form of birth control relies on the dehumanization of the fetus. The “it’s just a clump of cells!” argument will fall apart.

          • Jennifer

            It is a clump of cells. Hard to dehumanize something that is not yet a human.

            There are a lot of arguments for legal abortion, and I don’t believe that each woman faced with what must be a very difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy should be subjected to invasive procedures in every attempt to circumvent the existing law. Furthermore, putting women on trial and deciding what is and is not an acceptable reason to terminate a pregnancy is irrelevant. Who the hell gives you or anyone else the right to play judge and jury with what a woman does with her uterus? The Morality Police is invalid anywhere other than your living room.

            From a social standpoint, I cannot imagine the repercussions in poor communities for women unable to terminate unwanted pregnancies (again, for reasons irrelevent). If you complain about paying for universal health care, who the hell do you think is going to pay for it? You are.

            Most arguments I’ve heard against legal abortion have to do with religion. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that the Constitution is a an alternative text to the Bible.

          • Babykiller

            I had a mole removed. It contains my DNA. Lab geniuses now have the ability to clone my DNA and grow another me–like Dolly the sheep. (For which the musical “Hello Dolly” is named. But I digress.) Thus removing cells with the potential to become a person is tantamount to murder. Round up the dermatologists!

          • Zoning Victim

            Being ignorant of the facts sure doesn’t ever stop you from having an opinion. 50% of women who end up with unwanted pregnancies were using birth control. 90% of abortions happen before the fetus is formed. An ultrasound at the fourth week of pregnancy will reveal what looks like a tadpole. You should give up and just admit that the only reason you swallow the hypocrisy of supporting this bill is because you like punishing women who exercise their freedom of choice.

      • democrats

        Please keep insisting on ideological purity in your own party and repelling those who don’t have it, steve. We welcome them to our side!

    • Kevin Meier

      Sam you are the one that is clueless, and please go to the Democrats, the Independents or stay with the Republicans. Just quite whining about government intrusion into our personal lives, or OH did you miss the news on the GOVERNMENT attempt to force providing contraceptives by people/organizations with moral objections.

      • novasteve

        Kevin, it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to require any employer, let alone the church, to provide a product, or to require insurerers to do the same. Only the states can do that. The liberals have distracted people so much with this church issue they got everyone to ignore the blatant 10th amendment violation.

        • drax

          So the federal minimum wage is unconstitutional? ERISA?

      • Frank

        I am with you Sam. My wife and I had to make a very difficult decision a few years ago. It was decision that we made together, with our pastor, and our doctor.

        I find it reprehensible that our elected officials think they know better than we about the decision-making process in this heart-wrenching situation.

        My God will judge us based on more than this one issue; we don’t need you telling us and forcing us to conform to your beliefs by making the process even more difficult than it already is. If you don’t think the choice is a good choice for you because you believe your God will never forgive it; then that is not the choice for you. It might be for someone else.

        • novasteve

          How would an ultrasound have changed your situation at all, frank?

          • Numbers Sense

            An ultrasound is another hoop to jump through… prolonging a difficult decision and making the individual(s) who have to make it go through an unnecessary procedure.

          • Frank

            Would you appreciate having to have a cardiac stress test, a comprehensive blood analysis, and any other medical procedure done befor a doctor could prescribe Viagra to you? All not necessarily medically required, but our elected officials decide you should have to? AND, you have to pay for all of it out of pocket?

            The cost for this procedure will be paid out of pocket for most people, as is the abortion procedure itself. It is NOT always or even frequently paid for by the insurer, so here is what it would have done….we would have had to undergo an extra procedure for no medical reason and had to pay even more than we already had to budget for…these kinds of procedures aren’t just a small co-pay.

            Make a bad situation worse for everyone involved. It’s easy to do that when it’s not you it’s happening to….

          • tess

            Please. Something tells me that novasteve is NEVER going to have to worry about being with a woman. He knows so very little about women’s anatomy it’s frightning, simply becase he thinks it’s o.k. to let the legislators do the thinking FOR A WOMAN.

    • tess

      Thank you, Sam. The excuse that the governor is giving us for this unnecessary procedure is complete B.S. He is basically saying that women can’t think for themselves.

  • novasteve

    Is being bombarded by radation from the porno scanners at the airport medically necessary given they won’t even detect surgically implanted bombs or body cavity bombs?

    • tess

      No one is saying an airport scanning is medically necessary, steve! You have a really tough time with analogies! LOL.

      • esmith69

        Agreed, no-go steve is the WORST with analogies!

  • sophia

    This is Disgusting. The election can’t come soon enough.

    • tess


  • Stupid GOP

    I heard the original bill would’ve required the mother to name the embryo/fetus and then hold a funeral for it. Like for goldfish.

    • Arlingtoon

      I read this at precisely the wrong time, and snarfed chicken noodle soup all over my keyboard.

      Please, please, next time give me a warning.

      • Stupid GOP

        And my work here is done! Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

        I can just see the OB/GYN and the 16-year-old almost-Mom standing over medical-waste receptacle … “We lament the passing of Fetus–whom we knew as ‘Feety’–a sweet little fetus. Sure, it looked like an alien, but its kicking let us know it was a big fan of Jack Daniel’s and Marlboro Lights. No doubt it was a heterosexual fetus and could have gone to term had it not been for high corporate income taxes.”

        • drax

          I’m pro-choice too, but I know that if my wife had a miscarriage, I would be sad about it and not take it so lightly as this. Let’s not get carried away with our rhetoric.

  • Frivolous

    Gotta make sure we punish women for having sex

    • Jennifer

      Please, the memory of some of my exes are punishment enough.

  • Favola said in a statement. “This is the height of government intervention stomping on my constitutional rights. What will be next?”

    Babs, given the other news today, I would guess you would choose to “next” stomp on the following constitutional right:

    “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    Yet, after pointing out her hypoctitic language, I have to say I’m with the Dems on this topic (ultrasound) and sympathetic to their gun control stance (although not supportive).

  • Dem Here

    Keep your stinking paws out of my gun cabinet and out of my uterus, you damned dirty ape.

    OK, I don’t have a uterus. But if I did, I would have a tattoo near it reading “No Trespassing/Beware of Dog.”

    • novasteve

      Where is your outrage over mandatory vaccinations then? So much for “keep your laws off my body!”

      • Frivolous

        Public health issues with communicable diseases

      • Zoning Victim

        Mine was paralyzed by Polio.

    • There are probably a lot of guys would would like the tattoo near your uterus and consider it a turn-on, thus increasing your chance of fertilization and being in an abortion clinic.

      • Dem Here

        First I would have to get rid of the tattoo there now–an Amish guy. Guess where the beard is.

  • Dem Here

    I think the Wienermobile is really performing abortions.

    I’ll have one D&C, extra Vicodin, hold the ultrasound!

  • Josh S

    What’s extra heinous is that I strongly doubt this bill was even the idea of any Virginia citizen. It was dreamed up as a strategy from the Pro-Life crowd, and they sat around and tried to figure out what state would be the test case. Once they did all the political calculations, then they picked Virginia, THEN they contacted a sympathetic Virginia state legislator to suggest the bill.

    Cause this kind of bill would never rise up to gain widespread consideration if it had been purely home-grown. Even among the conservative Virginia voters, I’m pretty sure that there would be plenty of other issues for the state legislature to address that would have a higher priority, left to express their own desires.

    • You’ve likely never been to Lynchburg.

      • jackson

        Under Jerry Falwell’s influence, you couldn’t even get MTV on cable until 1985.

        Just saying there is no shortage of kooks at the grassroots level. They’re mostly weeded out as you go up the ladder, until eventually you wind up with someone like Romney, who will say whatever the majority would like to hear.

    • tess

      Josh – When you consider people like novasteve, who recite whatever they’ve heard from their mama or the church, you can believe that there are people who think they really want this – until something really happens involving them. Then you can’t tell a Republican from a Democrat in the doctor’s office. Novasteve is so unfamiliar with a woman’s anatomy, it’s not even the least bit funny.

      And, yes, as a woman, this bill is heinous, as is Gov. McDonnell’s excuse that it is for the “dignity of women”??? A-hole! Can’t wait for the next election!

      • not mama or the church

        Limbaugh and Beck more like

      • Suburban Not Urban

        I can think of a lot worse sources to use than my parents or my pastor like maybe some liberal TV talking head.

        • tess

          It just sounds so juvenile when people talk about “baby killing”. It’s not baby killing, because they aren’t babies yet – but I understand that facts and Republicans are usually strangers. Please, keep listening to Limbaugh or Beck or Santorum or Gingrich or Ron Paul or Ann Coulter or Laura Ingraham. Gosh – so many to pick from. It only enhances Obama’s chances for re-election!

        • Jerry

          Keith Olbermann! Michael Moore! Alec Baldwin! They know what’s good for us!

          • tess

            Probably more so than the Vagina General Assembly!

  • Citizen

    Josh, does your ignorance have no bounds? Do you know what percentage of Americans favor unrestricted abortion on demand? Virginia citizens? Do you care?

    Is there something you know something about? Post on that.

    • Josh S

      Gosh, there were several potential argumentative responses that I anticipated, but I did not anticipate this one.

      I’m not entirely sure where you’re going with this, but OK, I’ll bite.

      Do tell us, what is the percentage of “Americans favor unrestricted abortion on demand (sic)?”

      Also, what would the answer have to do with my point?

  • Mitt-Curious

    Do Mormons do posthumous baptisms of aborted fetuses?

  • MomofTeens

    My view of men who oppose abortion: a man gets to visit a woman’s apartment whenever he likes, with no responsibility for paying any rent…he stays at the apartment on multiple occasions enjoying himself. Then, when the woman is in trouble and cannot pay the rent, the man can take off BECAUSE HE’S NOT STUCK WITH THE LEASE – but as his parting shot, he passes a law making it illegal for her to get out of her lease for the next 18 years.

    • jim

      seriously? it’s a child – not an apartment. if you don’t want it — give it away. but don’t pretend that isn’t not a child.

  • Civic Activist

    Arlington Democratic politicians would sound less hypocritical on this matter had the Democratic County Board ever allowed an abortion clinic to open in Arlington. A woman has a right to choose; but, not in my back yard. Get thee to Falls Church!

  • BoredHouseWife

    dang Virginia govt is all about forcing unnecessary medical procedures against women.


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