McDonnell urges GOP lawmakers to back down on controversial ultrasound bill

Gov. Bob McDonnell is recommending a series of amendments to the controversial legislation that would require women seeking to abort a pregnancy to undergo an invasive ultrasound procedure beforehand.

“Having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done,” McDonnell said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Republican-sponsored legislation had come under fire from women’s rights groups in Virginia and nationwide – and was proving to be troublesome politically in an election year in which the GOP hopes to raise issue with government mandates in the health-care reform authored by congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama.

McDonnell, whose name is on the short lists of some in the punditocracy as a possible vice-presidential nominee this fall, played both sides of the abortion debate in his statement, stating in the first sentence that he believes “deeply in the sanctity of innocent human life and believe(s) governments have a duty to protect human life,” but also conceding that “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,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell in the statement said he will request that the General Assembly amend the legislation “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,” McDonnell said.


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