Va. Senate Passes Revised Ultrasound Mandate

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Virginia is on its way to becoming the eighth state to require women to receive an ultrasound before having an abortion.

The state Senate passed the measure Tuesday, but only after making several more revisions to what began as very controversial bill.

When the original bill passed the Republican-led House it was immediately met by national uproar. That measure required not only an external ultrasound but also an internal one.

Early on in pregnancy, babies cannot be seen with an external ultrasound. Transvaginal ultrasounds allow doctors to find and monitor the baby's heartbeat.

It also allows physicians to provide the mother with a picture of her unborn child.

"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," said Del. Kathy Byron, R-Lynchburg, the bill's sponsor.

Critics attacked the bill, saying it would force women to have an unwanted and invasive procedure. Thousands protested and it even got the attention of late night television hosts.

In the end an amended version of the bill that excluded internal ultrasounds, was sent to the Senate. The measure passed after making several more adjustments with a close 21-19 vote.

"We're just glad to see the legislature has waded through the mean-spirited, disingenuous rhetoric that's been down here at the Capitol about this bill and seen through to the merits of the bill and passed it," one lawmaker said.

The ultrasound bill now heads back to the House for a vote on the amendments made by the Senate. Then it will be sent to the governor's desk, where he is expected to sign the bill into law.

Both Pennsylvania and Mississippi are still considering ultrasound laws that would require an internal exam. A similar requirement is already in effect in Texas.

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