Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signed a mandatory ultrasound bill into law last month, which will require all women who have an abortion in the state to have an ultrasound first, after backing off his earlier support for a more far-reaching version of the bill that would have required a more invasive ultrasound.
Despite his opposition to “invasive” TSA pat-downs, McDonnell still agreed with requiring women to undergo an additional medical prodecure because they “have a right to know” all available medical information before making a decision.
But his focus on a woman’s right to know ignores that the bill adds an unfunded, unnecessary burden for women seeking an abortion. In an interview with Bloomberg’s All Hunt, McDonnell stood by his “right to know” line without addressing if the law was a mandate:
MCDONNELL: The truth is that in almost all the cases already these ultrasounds are already required for medical reasons. [...] The important part, really, is to be able to show the woman the ultrasound along with all the medical information. [...]
HUNT: Suppose she and her doctor don’t think that’s necessary. You would still mandate it, though, right?
MCDONNELL: Well, again, it’s in a fairly small minority cases where it’s not being performed. But this is the policy that the legislature set. I thought it was the right policy.
The additional requirement throws up another barrier for women who want to have an abortion in Virginia. This invasive law, along with burdensome and expensive state regulations on abortion clinics, are Republican lawmakers’ attempts to limit women’s access to abortion procedures by making it difficult or forcing clinics to close.
Twenty of Virginia’s 23 abortion clinics affected by the new regulations that have gone into place reported that they already meet or will comply with the standards, such as larger hallways, bigger parking lots, and certain health and cooling controls. But complying with the standards was expensive, costing the clinics betweeen $150,000 to $3 million a piece. “These are difficult economic times,” Laura Meyers, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington, told the Washington Examiner. “To put more onerous regulations on health care providers that are not necessary seems very counterproductive.”