The Virginia House gave final approval yesterday to two bills that will tighten abortion laws in the state. One requires women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, and the other states that life begins at conception.
The debate grew heated, and Deputy House Majority Leader C. Todd Gilbert (R) even suggested that women undergo abortions to maintain their “lifestyle.” He later apologized for his remarks:
“Abortion is a sad and deeply serious occurrence,’’ Gilbert said in a statement. “Individuals on both sides of this issue agree that it is tragic for all involved. I recognize that few women undergo the procedure lightly. It leaves scars, both mental and physical, that can last forever. I regret that my comments earlier today on the House floor were insensitive to that reality.’’
Gilbert, who opposes abortion rights, shocked opponents of a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion when he said: “In the vast majority of these cases, these are matters of lifestyle convenience.”
The state Senate already approved the ultrasound bill, so now it goes to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who has already said he will approve the measure.
But two studies have already shown that ultrasounds do not influence women’s decisions on abortions. It is unclear if the GOP-controlled Senate will also approve the personhood measure. Last year, when Democrats controlled the Senate, they voted down a similar measure.