A Senate committee voted 4-1 on Friday to approve the measure, and the state Senate is expected to vote on it early this week. Even though studies have proven that viewing an ultrasound does not lead women to not have abortions, the bill’s sponsor says he hopes it will:
Scofield said he hopes that, if signed into law, his bill will stop some abortions. Though the bill states a woman can look away from the ultrasound image, Scofield wants her to see it.
“So she sees that this is not just a clump of cells as she is told,” he said. “She will see the shape of the infant. And hopefully, she will choose to keep the child.”
The bill wouldn’t require an ultrasound if an abortion is necessary to save a woman’s life, but it does not allow the victims of sexual assault to opt out of viewing the ultrasound.
Last week, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell backed away from supporting the same measure after almost 1,000 women protested the measure and national media mocked the extreme bill. He explained that he backtracked after the state’s attorney general told him that “these kinds of mandatory invasive requirements might run afoul of Fourth Amendment law.” The Virginia House and a Senate committee have passed the ultrasound bill with substitute language from the governor that would not require women to receive a transvaginal ultrasound.
State Sen. Linda Coleman (D), the sole vote against the bill in committee, told RH Reality Check that it is “a state-sanctioned rape bill.” “You can’t tell me forcing a probe into a woman’s vagina against her consent is anything but rape,” Coleman said.