Virginia poised to pass ultrasound bill

Jan. 31, 2012 at 11:02 PM
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RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The Virginia state Senate Monday debated a bill to require pregnant women to have an ultrasound procedure before terminating a pregnancy.

Several bills that would restrict access to abortion are proceeding through the state legislature, their chances of success improved by the gains of social conservatives in the 2011 election, giving the Republican Party effective control of the Senate, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot said.

The proposed legislation under consideration would modify Virginia's informed consent law to require women to undergo and see the results of an ultrasound before making a choice regarding the fetus, newspaper reported.

Critics have called it a tactic to add cost, delay and inconvenience to any decision, and a ploy to persuade women to forgo abortions.

Sen. Janet Howell, a Democrat, attempted to amend the bill to require men seeking erectile dysfunction medication to undergo a rectal exam and cardiac stress test, calling it "only fair, if we're going to subject women to unnecessary procedures and we're going to subject doctors to having to do things they don't think are medically necessary."

Howell's amendment failed Monday, leaving the bill on the verge of passing, with a vote likely Wednesday, the newspaper said.

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