Mandated ultrasounds

Virginia is now the eighth state to require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion.

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the controversial bill into law Wednesday afternoon. The bill goes into effect July 1.

The bill originally included a provision requiring women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds, which opponents called medically unnecessary and physically invasive. McDonnell asked that the provision be stripped from the bill.

The revised version, which McDonnell signed, allows women to reject transvaginal ultrasounds and opt for abdominal ultrasounds, which generally yield less information in the early stages of a pregnancy.

Virginia democrats on Wednesday blasted McDonnell for signing the bill into law.

The women health’s organization NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, in an email to CBS News, accused McDonnell of facilitating “an unprecedented invasion of privacy and government intrusion into the doctors’ offices and living rooms of Virginia women.”

McDonnell defended his decision, which he argues will provide women with additional information to make a fully informed decision about having an abortion.

‚ÄúThis bill does not legally alter a woman’s ability to make a choice regarding her pregnancy,” he said in a statement. “It does, however, put Virginia in line with 23 other states that have some type of requirement that a woman be offered a view of an ultrasound before an abortion can be performed.”

According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, Virginia will become the eighth state to require medical providers to administer ultrasounds on women before performing abortions. In Texas, the provider must also display and describe the image of the ultrasound.

The Guttmacher Institute also found:

-11 states require verbal counseling or written materials to include information on accessing ultrasound services.

-20 states regulate the provision of ultrasound by abortion providers.

-7 states mandate that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion, and require the provider to offer the woman the opportunity to view the image.

-9 states require that a woman be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound image if her provider performs the procedure as part of the preparation for an abortion.

-5 states require that a woman be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound image.

These statistics do not include requirements in the new Virginia law.

What do you think about the Virginia law requiring ultrasounds prior to abortions? Should Washington legislators pursue a law requiring ultrasounds?

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