The hotly debated bill mandating ultrasound exams for women seeking abortions has cleared its final legislative hurdle in Virginia's General Assembly. The bill is on its way to Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is expected to sign it.
Del. Kathy Byron explained that the bill does not prevent women from having abortions. She added that using the most modern technology would enable women to give fully informed consent for a life-altering decision.
But Del. David Englin asked bill supporters to speak plainly about what he believes is the measure's true intent.
"It's an unnecessary medical exercise at the expense of the woman that produces no information, says Englin. "It's part of a series of requirements in this bill that exists for no other reason than to create barriers to access."
The bill's backers noted that it is Planned Parenthood's practice to offer trans-abdominal ultrasounds. But a bill opponent argued that if a woman wants to refuse it, the doctor must respect her wishes. The bill itself requires the ultrasound image to be offered to the patient, but she can decline to view it.