McDonnell: Virginia Lawmakers Should Revise Ultrasound Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 22, 2012   |   4:22PM   |   Richmond, VA

Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia has released a statement advising pro-life lawmakers in the Virginia legislature pursuing a bill to allow women to have an ultrasound performed before an abortion to make change to the legislation.

McDonnell’s office released a statement this afternoon calling for amendments to ensure the bill does not mandate that women be required to have an ultrasound beforehand — even though ultrasounds are routinely done before an abortion, according to a study of Planned Parenthood abortion centers and independent abortion clinics.

“Having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done,” McDonnell said in the statement, adding that “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,” McDonnell said, saying he wants the legislature 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,” McDonnell said.

In the statement, McDonnell reaffirms his pro-life views, saying, ‘I am pro-life” and he believes “deeply in the sanctity of innocent human life and believe(s) governments have a duty to protect human life.”

Virginia Democratic Party chair Brian Moran blasted McDonnell for not going far enough, according to the Washington Post.

“Let’s be clear: the course of action that Governor McDonnell has advocated forces an unnecessary medical procedure on Virginia women whether their doctors think they need them or not,” Moran said in a statement. “Should Virginia women thank the Governor for giving them a choice over the type of procedure the state will force on them at his behest?”

The Family Foundation, a statewide pro-life organization that has been promoting the ultrasound bill in the legislature, released a legislative alert saying abortion advocates in the legislature are pushing amendments that would gut the bill.

“The media, abortion industry driven hysteria surrounding the ultrasound legislation on the verge of being voted on in the House of Delegates has reached fever pitch. There are some in Richmond who may offer amendments to the bill on the House floor as early as today that would, in the opinion of The Family Foundation, gut the bill,” the group said. “SB 484 requires an ultrasound (done according to standard medical practice) to be performed prior to an abortion and offers the woman the opportunity to view it if she so chooses.”

“Despite the hype and hysteria by opponents and media sympathizers, Virginia is not breaking new legal or medical ground,” the group said. “If an abortionist is required to do a transabdominal ultrasound and, upon seeing no fetus, is then legally permitted to perform an abortion without any further proof of life we have done a tremendous disservice to the health and safety of women of Virginia. An abortion doctor can then begin an abortion, causing emotion distress and monetary cost to the woman, for no reason, as there may not even be a pregnancy. It can also be unsafe, due to lack of knowledge of the gestational position and number (#) of fetus’ to be aborted.”

“Furthermore, failure to confirm the pregnancy by transabdominal ultrasound before invasive surgery should require all necessary precautions (including, if appropriate, a transvaginal ultrasound) be taken to rule out a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy. Planned Parenthood’s own website and the National Abortion Federation (NAF) “standards” indicate that this is already done as the standard of care. If so, why is the industry screaming so loudly?” TFF continued.

Abortion advocates have created a firestorm of criticism for itself by making the wild-eyed claim that allowing women in Virginia a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child before the abortion is akin to rape.

However, new information has surfaced showing the abortion business already does pre-abortion ultrasounds on women to determine the age of the unborn child prior to the abortion — making it so the abortion business, in its own words, “rapes” women already. The question then becomes whether or not women will be allowed to see the ultrasound image or heart the audio of the heartbeat of their baby.

Alana Goodman of Commentary magazine says Planned Parenthood provides the following on a telephone hotline:

“Patients who have a surgical abortion generally come in for two appointments. At the first visit we do a health assessment, perform all the necessary lab work, and do an ultrasound. This visit generally takes about an hour. At the second visit, the procedure takes place. This visit takes about an hour as well. For out of town patients for whom it would be difficult to make two trips to our office, we’re able to schedule both the initial appointment and the procedure on the same day.

Medical abortions generally require three visits. At the first visit, we do a health assessment, perform all the necessary lab work, and do an ultrasound. This visit takes about an hour. At the second visit, the physician gives the first pill and directions for taking two more pills at home. The third visit is required during which you will have an exam and another ultrasound.”

As pro-life blogger Jill Stanek notes, “There is nothing in HB 462 that mandates the use of transvaginal ultrasound rather than abdominal ultrasound, but pro-aborts have swarmed around this possibility comparing it to rape.”

“Early in a pregnancy –  4-8ish weeks depending on several factors, including the girth of the mother – a baby’s age cannot be ascertained by other than a transvaginal ultrasound,” Stanek explains. “And this has been determined necessary for the safety of mothers in Virginia based on previous disciplinary actions against abortionists for grossly misjudging a baby’s age.”

Other pro-life advocates note that the abortion drug RU 486 can kill women without the use of an ultrasound to detect an ectopic pregnancy.

Seven states have laws that require an ultrasound for each abortion and require the abortion practitioner to offer the opportunity to view the image: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Okahoma and Mississippi.