28 February 2012

Va. Senate approves contentious ultrasound bill - The Washington Post

By , Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 3:00 PM

RICHMOND — The Virginia Senate voted Tuesday for a scaled-back version of a contentious proposal that would require women to undergo external ultrasounds before abortions, but not the transvaginal ones.

The 21-19 vote in the Republican-controlled Senate — mostly along party lines — came Monday after Gov. Robert F. McDonnell asked legislators to soften the bill following protests on Capitol Square and mocking on national television, including “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “Saturday Night Live.’’

McDonnell, an abortion opponent who had said he would sign the bill, asked lawmakers to amend the measure after it became clear the original legislation would have required a vaginal ultrasound in most cases because abortions usually occur in the first trimester.

The Senate amended the bill to exclude women who have reported to law enforcement that they are victims of rape and incest. But they excluded women who know that their fetus suffers from birth defects.

Two Democrats — Sen. Charles Colan (Prince William) and Phil Puckett (Russell) — voted with Republicans. One Republican, Sen. John Watkins (Chesterfield), voted with Democrats.

The bill now goes to McDonnell for his signature.

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