Virginia Approves Restrictive Abortion Bill

Posted March 2nd, 2012 at 7:30 am (UTC-5)
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A measure that would require women in Virginia to undergo an external ultrasound before having an abortion has cleared its final legislative hurdle.

The bill was approved Thursday by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates . The bill initially mandated women seeking an abortion to undergo a more invasive vaginal ultrasound, or imaging probe, to determine the age of the fetus. But it sparked angry demonstrations by pro-choice activists in the state capital of Richmond, and was mocked by television talk and comedy shows.

The controversy led Republican Governor Bob McDonnell to urge lawmakers to eliminate the invasive procedure in an amended version of the bill. The revised bill also exempts women who victims of rape or incest, and reported the attack to police.

The amended bill passed the state Senate on Tuesday . It now goes to McDonnell who is expected to sign it. Virginia would be the seventh U.S. state requiring abortion providers to perform ultrasounds.

Virginia lawmakers scuttled another controversial bill last week that would have granted legal protections to a human embryo. The so-called personhood bill would have defined life as beginning from the moment of conception. Opponents argued the proposed law amounted to outlawing abortion.