Opponents Villainize Va. Ultrasound Bill as 'Gov't Rape'

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RICHMOND, Va. - A series of pro-life bills are making their way through state legislatures across the country. Many of them could require women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion.

The debate is especially heating up in Virginia, where two pro-life bills seem to be on the fast track to becoming law. Now, opponents are trying to stop the measures, saying they violate women's bodies and their rights.

Virginia is likely to become eighth state in the nation to require women to have an ultrasound before going forward with an abortion.

"Informed consent has always been to make sure that a woman has the right to all the information. Not just some of it, but all of it," Del. Kathy Byron, R-Lynchburg, told CBN News.

Byron sponsored the House version of Virginia's ultrasound bill.

CBN News Medical Reporter Lorie Johnson talked more about the type of ultrasound that would be required under Virginia's pro-life bill.

Click play for her comments, followed by reaction from Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. Tobias discusses the nationwide fight against abortion, and how required ultrasound laws can help.

If the measure passes, not only would an ultrasound be required, but doctors would have to find and monitor the baby's heart beat, as well as provide the woman with a picture of her unborn child.

Virginia pro-life supporters say the law would provide women with the most advanced medical technology available. Yet, opponents claim the legislation violates women's health rights.

"I have a vote and an opinion and a body, which is my right to control," Kathy Byron, an opposing resident, said of the bill.

The current bill calls for a transvaginal ultrasound, which requires a device be inserted into the woman. Opponents of the measure are outraged at the idea of the procedure, calling it "government sponsored rape."

"These are simply mean-spirited. They're bullying women just because you can," Del. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, said.

The Virginia House of Delegates and the state Senate have passed separate versions of the bill.

Pro-life Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is a potential vice presidential pick, is not giving the bill his unconditional support.

He's requesting an amendment be added that says no woman will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound. McDonnell said an external one will satisfy the requirements.

"It has garnered a lot of public attention. But there's a lot of misinformation that's going out as well," Byron explained.

Similar legislation is making its way through the Pennsylvania legislature.

"It is malicious and demeaning for women. It has absolutely no basis (in) good health care," said Sari Stevens, executive director at Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates.

Pennsylvania doctors would also be required to position the screen so women could watch the ultrasound. Failing to do so could mean criminal charges.

Pro-life advocates say these bills will help women make better choices, and ultimately save a human life.

"This is a decision, no matter what decision she makes, that will stay with a woman for the rest of her life," said state Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-65th District. "It is my opinion that the woman deserves the facts and all the information about that unborn child before she makes that decision."

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