That was fast. Just hours ago, the big news out of Virginia was that Gov. Bob McDonnell had switched from fully supporting the state legislation forcing women seeking an abortion to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound, to thinking, “hey, maybe that’s kind of invasive.”
Now, McDonnell has changed his mind and is opposing the bill as currently written. From his statement:
Over the past days I have discussed the specific language of the proposed legislation with other governors, physicians, attorneys, legislators, advocacy groups, and citizens. It is apparent that several amendments to the proposed legislation are needed to address various medical and legal issues which have arisen. 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. I have come to understand that the medical practice and standard of care currently guide physicians to use other procedures to find the gestational age of the child, when abdominal ultrasounds cannot do so. Determining gestational age is essential for legal reasons, to know the trimester of the pregnancy in order to comply with the law, and for medical reasons as well.
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.
While it’s absolutely unbelievable that McDonnell and his advisors did not know exactly what a trans-vaginal ultrasound was, and what it would mean for Virginia’s women, maybe he actually was educated by the huge response against the bill. Or maybe he can just read polls. At any rate, a victory. Now the fight moves to the familiar ground of having mandated ultrasounds of any kind for women seeking an abortion.