It engendered a lot of controversy – and late yesterday it failed after the governor changed is mind and decided not to support it.
A Virginia bill that would have required women to undergo an invasive ultrasound before having an abortion failed Wednesday after Gov. Bob McDonnell withdrew his support.
McDonnell, a Republican who opposes abortion and is mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate, came out against the measure in the face of anger among some women and ridicule by late-night comedians.
Requiring women to have an ultrasound in which a wand is inserted into the vagina “is not a proper role for the state,” McDonnell said. “No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.”
McDonnell asked the General Assembly to amend the legislation to “address various medical and legal issues which have arisen” and “to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily.”
The House of Delegates passed a substitute bill late Wednesday requiring doctors to perform the more routine external “jelly on the belly” ultrasound to determine the stage of the pregnancy before performing an abortion.
Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, a Republican who sponsored the original bill, decided to withdraw the Senate version of the bill, effectively killing it, when it became clear that the governor’s position had shifted, legislative assistant Tricia Stiles said.
Vogel’s bill, requiring the invasive procedure, had provoked both outrage and scorn.
Sen. Janet Howell, a Democrat, called it a “serious infringement of women’s rights.”
She offered an amendment to require doctors to perform a rectal exam and cardiac stress test on men seeking medication for erectile dysfunction. That measure failed.
Invoking President Reagan’s statement that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” Stewart quipped: “I got nine scarier words for you: I’m from the government, and this wand’s a little cold.”