A Sound Decision? Virginia passes mandatory ultrasound House Bill 462

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Background
In what falls under “informed-consent” legislation, there is a proposed Virginia state bill that would require women seeking an abortion in early stages of their pregnancies to undergo an invasive type of ultrasound. This procedure would be mandated in order to receive an abortion. In some states it is even stricter, requiring that the woman listen to the heartbeat and look at the ultrasound (Texas). Opponents of the bill state that the procedure is unnecessarily invasive. Six other states that currently mandate ultrasounds and offer the opportunity for women to view the image include: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana and Missouri (a seventh state, Texas, requires that women receive both receive the ultrasound and view the image, then wait 24 hours).

On February 21, 2012, Governor McDonnell asked lawmakers to revise the bill in order to mandate that “abdominal” ultrasounds, instead of “transvaginal” ultrasounds, be performed before an abortion. This additional requirement must be financially supported by the women seeking abortions and increases the cost of the procedure. Women of lower socio-economic status may be subject to financial discrimination. To date, no professional medical organization recommends such a mandate in order to improve patient health and safety measures.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Flip-Flops

 

At first, Gov. McDonnell supported the bill that mandated all women seeking abortions to undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound to determine how far along the pregnancy was.
However, that didn’t go over well with his platform base and as it is an election year he withdrew his support. He cited that it was too “intrusive” and that “No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.”

The Sad Outcome
On Wednesday March 7, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the revised controversial bill into law despite four protests outside the Virginia State Capitol and a petition with 33,000 signatures. Executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, Tarina Keene, had this statement: The bill is an unprecedented invasion of privacy and government intrusion into the doctors’ offices and living rooms of Virginia women.”

You Can Still Take Action
Although this amended bill just passed it is never too late to overturn a bill that puts unlawful restrictions on women and their medical rights. In an election year, if a senator gets enough calls citing outrage over an issue that he supported, it could make its way to the top of his priority list.

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3 Responses to “A Sound Decision? Virginia passes mandatory ultrasound House Bill 462”

  1. rexwidmer Says:

    This is a controversial topic posing difficult ethical questions. Should state government mandate any procedure on its populace? Even in the case of state-mandated childhood immunizations, parents have an opt-out option. I am assuming there is no opt-out clause for this mandatory ultrasound procedure for women seeking an abortion.

    Regardless of one’s views on abortion, healthcare providers do play a role in educating and informing patients of the implications of any chosen medical procedural. My perception is that this law’s ultimate purpose is to reduce abortions with the means being informing the woman of the full implications of aborting the unwanted child. I believe wholeheartedly that women seeking an abortion, especially young women, should be provided counseling on the consequence and magnitude of their decision to abort. However, this counseling must be conducted with respect rather than “guilt tripping.” I am uncertain whether mothers seeking an abortion would categorize an ultrasound exam as respectful counseling or a guilt-inducing procedure. Either way, the mandatory nature of the bill feels like an overstretch by the state and an infringement on individual liberties.

  2. judypressleyphillips Says:

    My feeling is pro life, so I feel at least by ensuring the mother carrying this child made to see this baby nside her, is absolutely necessary!
    If this saves even One baby then it is worth it.
    Look at all the infertile mothers desparately trying to adopt. Have the baby and place it up for adoption, but don’t kill your own child.

  3. fitness expert Says:

    fitness expert…

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