DV Archive

Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

McDonnell requests changes to ultrasound before abortion bill

with 4 comments

Breaking from the State Capitol: Governor Bob McDonnell asking members of the General Assembly to change portions of the ultrasound before abortion bill.

His full statement is below:

Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on SB 484

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement today regarding SB 484, a bill before the General Assembly that would require an ultrasound prior to an abortion being performed.

“I am pro-life. I believe deeply in the sanctity of innocent human life and believe governments have a duty to protect human life. The more our society embraces a culture of life for all people, the better country we will have. Over the course of my 20-year career in elected office, I have been glad to play a leading role in putting in place common-sense policies that protect and defend innocent human life in the Commonwealth. One of those bills was Virginia’s informed consent statute, of which I was the chief patron in the House of Delegates, finally seeing its passage in 2001. This session, the General Assembly is now considering amending this informed consent statute to include a requirement that any woman seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound in order to establish the gestational age for appropriate medical purposes, and to offer a woman the opportunity to voluntarily review that ultrasound prior to giving her legal informed consent to abortion.

Over the past days I have discussed the specific language of the proposed legislation with other governors, physicians, attorneys, legislators, advocacy groups, and citizens. It is apparent that several amendments to the proposed legislation are needed to address various medical and legal issues which have arisen. It is clear that in the majority of cases, a routine external, transabdominal ultrasound is sufficient to meet the bills stated purpose, that is, to determine gestational age. I have come to understand that the medical practice and standard of care currently guide physicians to use other procedures to find the gestational age of the child, when abdominal ultrasounds cannot do so. Determining gestational age is essential for legal reasons, to know the trimester of the pregnancy in order to comply with the law, and for medical reasons as well.

Thus, having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done. Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.

For this reason, I have recommended to the General Assembly a series of amendments to this bill. I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily. I am asking the General Assembly to state in this legislation that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age. Should a doctor determine that another form of ultrasound may be necessary to provide the necessary images and information that will be an issue for the doctor and the patient. The government will have no role in that medical decision.

I have requested other amendments that help clarify the purposes of the bill and reflect a better understanding of prevailing medical practices. It is my hope that the members of the General Assembly will act favorably upon these recommendations from our office. We will await their action prior to making any further comments on this matter.”



Written by Ryan Nobles

February 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm

4 Responses

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  1. That’s not enough Governor. Having the state mandate the ultrasound at all is the problem with this legislation. The choice to terminate a pregnancy is a decision for the parents only and that choice is protected by federal law. The backward attempt by the legislators to curtail the rights of Virginia’s women and families will not be forgotten when Election Day rolls around this year.


    February 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm

  2. Thank you for your thoughts. I do believe unless for the health of the mother there should be NO ultrasound performed. This is an issue that NO one but the mother, father and doctor should be involved in. Many people believe, let’s find an invasion of a mans body before his mate is allowed to deliver or abort. I feel the laws in China are getting too close to our USA! I am way past baby age but have granddaughters who are beginning to have families. Religion ang government stay out of it!!!

    Judy foreman

    February 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm

  3. The state appears to have overlooked Roe vs. Wade.

    Mark F

    February 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm

  4. I agree that if you want an abortion, you should have to have a topical ultrasound. The reason for that is, I had to pick up a friend of mine from an abortion clinic years ago, at that time, there was a 13 yr old in there to have an abortion, she was told not worry, it was just a mass of bloody tissue. A person should know all the facts before making a decision like that, not to curtail women’s rights, but to make sure they are fully informed about just what they are aborting. No one should be able to tell you what you can do with your body, but how can you make an informed decision if you don’t know all the facts.


    February 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm

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