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McDonnell Shifts on Ultrasound Bill

House passes amended bill that does not require internal sonogram after governor changes course.

Update, 4:33 p.m. Wednesday:  The Virginia House of Delegates passed on Wednesday a revised version of a GOP-sponsored informed consent bill (HB462) that would require women to undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours before having an abortion.

The new bill, which requires women to receive an external, transabdominal ultrasound rather than a more invasive transvaginal ultrasound, passed by a vote of 65-32.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) revoked his support for the original bill minutes before the House began debate, saying that the government did not have the power to require the transvaginal procedure.

The amended bill now returns to the Senate where its sponsor, Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Winchester), has said she will strike the legislation. A House version, by Del. Kathy Byron, is pending before a Senate committee.

Original story: 

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has recommended amendments to SB 484, which would require an ultrasound prior to an abortion being performed. 

In a press release issued Wednesday, McDonnell reaffirmed his pro-life stance and belief that government has a duty to protect human life, but noted that after meeting with other governors, physicians, attorneys, legislators, advocacy groups and citizens he sees no need for an invasive mandate.

"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,” said McDonnell in the release.

"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."

McDonnell has requested that the General Assembly amend the bill to "explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily" and "only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age."

McDonnell said that should another form of ultrasound be necessary to provide the necessary images and information it will be between the doctor and the patient. "The government will have no role in that medical decision," said McDonnell. 

The governor's full remarks can be read here. 

As written, SB 484 (identical to HB462) , introduced by Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Winchester), would require that "as a component of informed consent to an abortion, to determine gestation age, every pregnant female shall undergo ultrasound imaging and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion."

The Washington Post previously reported that McDonnell, up until last weekend, had supported the bill and would sign it into law. 

The full text of the bill can be read here. It would also require a copy of the ultrasound and written certification be maintained in a woman’s medical record at the facility where the abortion is to be performed. 

SB 484 and HB 1, spearheaded by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), have recieved national media attention this week after being mocked on and blasted on The Rachel Maddow Show. Former governor

Fred Costello February 23, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Although this article pertains only to the ultrasound issue, Kathy Kaplan, whom I greatly admire and respect, raised two points about two laws being considered during the current legislative session in Richmond: (1) personhood from conception and (2) ultrasound before abortion. She opposes both, as apparently do those who usually comment on the Patch. Is Kathy denying modern science? DNA tests show that the fetus has human DNA that differs from the mother’s. The fetus is a distinct human being. It looks and acts as a human being should look and act during its nine months of development. Abortion kills a human being. Denying that a human being is a person has been condemned at least since the Civil War. Does Kathy not want informed consent? Ultrasound images will show the mother the state of her child so the mother can make an informed consent to the abortion. Health is also involved. Women have died because ultrasound was not used before an attempted abortion.
Jim Daniels February 23, 2012 at 05:25 PM
On your first point, I can say at least you have the courage of your convictions - admitting that this legislation is an attempt to stop women planning an abortion.. I disagree, but I admire you admit it. A zygote, which is the earliest form of embryo and consists of a mass of dividing cells, is no more a sentient human being than a skin cell is. Why no outcry in Richmond for the thousands of zygotes that are disposed of each year as the result of in-vitro fertilization? Your second point on this being for the benefit of the women's health is ridiculous. You can't be seriously suggesting that there is such an epidemic of malpractice in Virginia, that the state assembly has to dictate what medical procedures are performed. This isn't about informed consent, and it isn't about the health of the mother..this is about trying to shame women into not getting an abortion...period. P.S. I'm not sure referencing the Civil War in relation to what defines a person is such a great idea considering that half this country at the time didn't consider black people legal persons...
Jim Daniels February 23, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I see my above first paragraph is a bit confusing. I'm not disagreeing that this is what the legislation is attempting to do, but with the notion that the second an egg is fertilized it becomes a distinct human being, with rights that supersede the woman's
Scott February 23, 2012 at 05:34 PM
egg is fertilized it becomes a distinct human being, with rights that supersede the woman's HUH? The sperm and egg unite in one of your fallopian tubes to form a one-celled entity called a zygote. Zygote not human.
Mike James February 23, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Fred, the only person you're fooling is you. Women actually have brains and believe me, they see right through your distortions and hidden agendas. If you want to fight the religious culture wars of the 60's and 70's you have every right as an American citizen to do so. However, those wars have already been fought and your side lost. It's to man up and accept defeat. Is it so hard to understand that abortion is available but not mandatory? Nobody is forcing anyone to have an abortion or take birth control. Freedom means having the right to at least have these options available. I see Christian Republicans demanding that we go fight the Iranians and kill prisoners here in the United States who aren't guilty and not one word of outrage is heard in the Fox news/Rushbo bubble chamber about that. Surely you can see that you don't have one moral foot to stand on because your other positions are hypocritical. Just like we don't like flip floppers, we really don't like hypocrites in this country. The Catholic church is in so much trouble because it's positions are so very hypocritical. Trying to save unborn babies while protecting pedophile priests seems morally just wrong.
Jim Daniels February 23, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Scott...if you read my comments you will see that I was making the same point. My wording may have been confusing...
Reston Mom February 23, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Wow, lots of activity here since I left for work this morning! (On lunchbreak now.) Thanks, @LaurenJost, for finding the article quoting Sen. Vogel regarding her withdrawal of the bill. Regarding informed consent: rejection of this bill doesn't PREVENT a woman and her doctor from deciding an ultrasound is a good idea -- it simply doesn't put the government in a position of FORCING a woman to have one without her consent. Government's job is to make laws. Doctor's job is to provide healthcare. Government's job is NOT to decide what is/isn't medically necessary in a specific situation. That's the role of the healthcare provider. So many other points I could respond to, but I still need to eat and get back to work, so have fun, folks!
Kathy February 23, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Inserting an object into a woman's vagina without her consent is rape according to Virginia law and the FBI definition of rape. Also, under state and federal conspiracy laws, the legislators who drew up the legislation mandating transvaginal sonograms are guilty of conspiracy to commit rape. Had the governor signed this bill, he could also have been charged with conspiracy to commit rape. Perhaps the Commonwealth attorneys explained it to him and that's why he withdrew his support for HB 462. Or perhaps it was the hordes of Republican women who signed petitions from every corner of the state who changed his mind. Certainly Democrats would not have changed his mind. I do not believe a zygote is a distinct human being. It may have the potential to be a human being. We move back and forth here between concepts of religion and science. I do not believe the state has the right to force a religion on its citizens. The United States was created to protect people FROM religion. I do not tell my neighbors that they have to stop having children after two, or three, or five. If you choose to have five children, or even more, that is your right. I don't want to be obliged to bear children because of your religious faith. In a perfect world birth control would be perfect and reliable. Perhaps some day we will live in that perfect world. Kathy Kaplan Reston, Virginia
Scott February 23, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Kathy - Excellent - simply excellent response thank you!! - Jim I had to read your responses a couple of time to get it - I get it thank you too!
Mary Lambe February 24, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Jim, Nice hate words, but not based on fact. Check. Mate. By the way, you forgot to mention that the ultrasound bill was introduced by a female, Sen Jill Vogel, who has already said she will withdraw it, meaning the bill will die faster than most aborted fetuses. Hey, we're moving on to the new discussion on how the Democrats are conspiring to hold up the budget. Care to join us?
Mary Lambe February 24, 2012 at 01:19 AM
T, as was pointed out to you earlier, Planned Parenthood requires the outty ultrasound. Does that make them unacceptable in your mind?
Mary Lambe February 24, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Sigh. Are you a mom? Leaving aside the fact that less than one percent of pregnant moms even go in for a checkup within five weeks of the zygote creation, characterizing an ultrasound as rape is akin to labeling abortion as premeditated murder.
Mary Lambe February 24, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Actually it appears that the legislative process is working as it should in this case. The religious zealots had their say, other opinions were offered, and the result is that their bill did not go forward.
Scott February 24, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Dang Mary Lambe - Chill already! WE GET IT! Don't have to attack everyone who does not agree with you. Have a restful evening!
Mary Lambe February 24, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Mike, you appear to be very angry. Are you receiving any help? Please remember that the chief sponsor of this bill was a woman, yet men like you are making the biggest stink.
Mary Lambe February 24, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Yes, Mike, you figured it out. Churches are full of Republicans trying to escape for an hour or more each week. How you continue to spit your venom while avoiding facts may be baffling to some, but I understand. I very much look forward to your next diatribe on how to make our world a better place.
Mary Lambe February 24, 2012 at 03:03 AM
For Lauren Jost: Reading the title of this article begs the question: Why are you so eager to make the Governor look bad? Is "McDonnell Shifts" truly the headline of this debate?
Mary Lambe February 24, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Mike James, please call your office: "STAMFORD -- A North Stamford father trying to make his pre-teenaged son listen to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech last month was arrested on a warrant Wednesday and accused of striking his son with a coffee mug when the youth would not pay attention. Mohamed Shohan, 49, of 55 Mather Road, Stamford, was charged with third-degree assault, disorderly conduct and risk of injury to a child. He was released after posting $5,000 bond and will be arraigned on the charges at state Superior Court in Stamford Thursday." Read more: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Cops-Dad-hit-son-for-not-watching-Obama-3355490.php#ixzz1nGQwQDlS
Mary Lambe February 24, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Hey, here's a headline for tomorrow: "Virginia Senate Aborts Ultrasound Bill"
Uncle Smartypants February 24, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Mary, your most recent two posts include one that’s wildly off-topic and a reply to your OWN POST! I realize you always have to get the last word in, but that’s jumping the shark in a comment thread. I’m sure you think your comments are clever and pithy, but they come across as condescending and sanctimonious (and occasionally hostile.) Please desist with the trollish overposting.
Mike James February 24, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Actual facts, some golden rule and a little diatribe on who had the biggest spending cuts and smallest tax increases: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/the-budget-deals-of-reagan-bush-clinton-and-obama-in-one-chart/2011/07/06/gIQA98w11H_blog.html Republicans never clean up after themselves, they leave their messes for other people to take care of. If I didn't have to take any responsibility for my actions I'd be cheerful to. Maybe they feel because they have accepted Christ, that whatever they do is ok. Or maybe they feel since they are going up in the rapture it doesn't matter how baldy they leave it for the rest if humanity. We shall know them by their actions and their actions are very clear. I'm not angry, I'm truthful, maybe both of you two should try it some time.
T Ailshire February 24, 2012 at 04:13 PM
@Mary - I have no idea why you would think I care what Planned Parenthood does as a matter of course. What procedures they choose to use (and, I'd bet, have the option to forego) is up to them. Neither Planned Parenthood nor any other medical provider I have seen has policies and procedures that carry the force of law.
T Ailshire February 24, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Thank you, but I found it on Sen Vogel's web site -- so NOW it's not second-hand information.
Vasquez2 February 28, 2012 at 04:52 AM
If I was a Dr. and a woman came to me for an abortion, I would insist on the clearest possible image of what was ahead of me (so to speak) and what/where I would be working, whether that involved a CT, sonography or transvaginal. That would be MY call, not the patient's (or the Govt's) because, if something goes wrong...I'm the one facing a hefty lawsuit and possible loss of my career. If I went for a root canal or even a large cavity, and the dentist didn't first do an x-ray, I'd walk out. A good dentist will get the best image he can before touching a tooth. Why wouldn't an ob/gyn do the same? I would think a woman would be terrified of someone performing a procedure as invasive as abortion without first getting the best image possible. But, if she insists on not having a transvaginal against a Dr.'s recommendation (vs the govt), then the patient should simply agree to sign a release of liability so the Dr. can't be sued if something goes wrong or the Dr. reserves the right to decline service if he/she feels their ability to perform safely is compromised w/out a TransVag. This just seems like a common sense solution, no?
Vasquez2 February 28, 2012 at 06:32 AM
The Weekly Standard had article some years back on media bias called Biased Beyond a Doubt, by Robert J. Barro (Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics at Harvard University and a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University). In the article, he mentions some of the 200 think tanks, both liberal and conservative, most commonly cited by House and Senate members. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) was listed as one of the most commonly cited of the "liberal think tanks". http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/barro/files/ws04_1213.pdf The Drudge Report came in left-of-center, btw. Im a Libertarian. I recently started watching the "hated" Fox News (on a challenge) to see what all the fuss was about. Im into my 2nd week and I've found only 1 conservative anchor- Hannity (he does get on my nerves). Bret Baird seems pretty down the middle with folks like Mara Liasson & Juan Williams (NPR) on his panel. The Five, is mix of all viewpoints (a good thing, no?), Shepard Smith is a Liberal, O'Reilly - center-right, Greta VanSustern, center-left, Geraldo Rivera - Liberal, So, where is all the "Right wing extremism" I heard so much about? On the contrary! Everyone seems to have a voice on Fox, which is not the case at MSNBC (home of the angry rant). Straight up 411 is a nice change! I've learned more in a week @ Fox than a year elsewhere! It's just nice to have the chance to hear/consider all viewpoints. Keep an open mind, Mike, why so bitter?
Vasquez2 February 28, 2012 at 07:06 AM
As stated in an earlier post, we've had 4 families move into my neighborhood from Maryland, in the last year. They've left because they're fed up. i've got relatives in Ohio and Michigan trying to make the same move to VA. Laughingstock? Not hardly.
T Ailshire February 28, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Vasquez2 - exactly the point. In the scenario you paint here, it's a choice by the DOCTOR and the WOMAN, not by the government. If the woman doesn't want to follow the doctor's recommendation, she's free to find another doctor.
George Sibbett March 02, 2012 at 12:52 AM
It seems like a wonderful, modernized state, Virginia. How the hell can you keep a straight face when discussing your state?
George Sibbett March 02, 2012 at 12:55 AM
PLEASE, tell me what its like to live in the 19th century!!! Virginia. Do they walk around town with confederate uniforms on?
George Sibbett March 02, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Do you people of Virginia realize how far backward you are perceived to the modern world. do you walk around wearing confederate uniforms? My lord people, join the 21st century

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