RICHMOND, Va. (The Blaze/AP) -- Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell - facing outrage from women, national ridicule from television comedians and appeals from GOP moderates -- is opposing a Republican bill requiring vaginal probes of women seeking abortions.
On The Blaze blog, Liz Klimas recently tackled some of the details in the bill:
Not all women would be subject to this type of ultrasound, which uses a probe inserted into the vagina to obtain the image of the fetus. Transvaginal ultrasounds are often the only way to obtain a picture in the early stages pregnancy. Women further along would have a more traditional ultrasound, in accordance with the law.
McDonnell, a social conservative, appealed Wednesday for amendments to the bitterly contested bill to make a transvaginal ultrasound optional for women seeking abortions. In the procedure, a wand-like device is inserted and used to send out sound waves.
His written statement came as the House's majority Republicans quarreled about how to handle the legislation minutes before it was to be debated. It read, in part:
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 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.
In January, he seemed supportive of the measure during a radio interview. He said, "to be able to have that information before making what most people would say is a very important, serious, life-changing decision I think is appropriate."
"Up until last weekend, McDonnell and his aides had said the governor would sign the measure if it made it to his desk," the Washington Post added.
The bill had already won Senate passage. Opponents say it amounts to the state violating a woman's privacy. Last week ThinkProgress likened it to rape, writing:
Simply put, it is difficult to distinguish a law requiring women to be vaginally penetrated by a long metal object from state-sponsored rape. Worse, discussions among lawmakers leave little doubt that its supporters understood just what they were trying to write into law — they just didn’t care. As an unnamed lawmaker told a fellow Virginia delegate, a woman already consented to being “vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant.”
Supporters say it is medically prudent to determine fetal gestational age and, perhaps, discourage abortions.