RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — A hotly contested issue is on it’s way to the Governor’s office.

The Virginia Senate has passed legislation to force pregnant women to have ultrasound images made of their fetuses before having an abortion.

The Senate approved the Republican-backed measure on a mostly party-line 21-18 vote Wednesday.

Passage of the measure means that it will go to Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose signature would make it the law effective July 1.

Earlier this week, Fairfax Senator Janet Howell said if pregnant women should have to get an ultrasound before having an abortion, men should have to undergo additional medical procedures before getting a prescription for erectile dysfunction in her attempt to seek “a little gender equality” with the bill. That sparked reaction on both sides of the argument here.

Republican Sen. Jill Vogel of Fauquier County said the bill would give women the right to certain information that can be gleaned from an ultrasound, like the gestational age of the fetus. Vogel’s bill says the patient would be given the opportunity to see the image or hear the fetal heartbeat, but would not be required to do so.

Sen. Ralph Northam, a Norfolk Democrat and a pediatric neurologist, argued that government has no business telling doctors and patients what kind of diagnostic tests should be done.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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