A controversial mandatory ultrasound bill has been signed by Gov. Robert McDonnell on Wednesday, the AP reports. Any woman seeking an abortion in Virginia will be required to have an ultrasound first.
The bill gained notoriety when "Saturday Night Live" and "The Daily Show" both lampooned its intrusive requirement for a vaginal procedure. The bill that passed was amended to solely require an abdominal ultrasound.
Here's a look at the bill and some statements regarding its passage.
* Victims of rape or incest would be excluded from the requirement, but all other women would be offered the choice to view the ultrasound image.
* Patients living within 100 miles of a clinic would be required to wait 24 hours after the ultrasound before they can have the abortion.
* McDonnell's office noted that the abortion issue "raises passions," but made the argument in a press release that women "have a right to know all the available medical and legal information surrounding the abortion decision before giving legally effective informed consent. Informed consent is already required prior to an abortion being performed in Virginia, based on the longstanding health care concept that complete information about a medical procedure must be given to a patient before she can freely consent to a procedure."
* Ongoing protests had been organized to try to get legislators to change their mind, including one that led to 30 arrests.
* On Monday, Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Brian Moran put the blame for the arrests on Governor McDonnell, saying that he had responsibility due to his legislative choices. In a press statement, he said that "this should not be about the Capitol and State Police who responded to the protesters, it should be about the Republican politicians whose radical agenda created the environment for this unfortunate situation to arise."
* Ohio State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) introduced a bill on March 2 that would legislate men's health issues, specifically designed to make it harder for men to receive PDE-5 inhibitors, or erectile dysfunction medication. In a press statement that directly addressed state legislation similar to the bill passed in Virginia, Turner said "The men in our lives, including members of the General Assembly, generously devote time to fundamental female reproductive issues-the least we can do is return the favor. It is crucial that we take the appropriate steps to shelter vulnerable men from the potential side effects of these drugs."
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington D.C. in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
- Robert McDonnell