RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell — facing outrage from women, national ridicule on Saturday Night Live and appeals from GOP moderates — has come out against a bill that would require transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions.
McDonnell, a social conservative, appealed Wednesday for amendments to the bitterly contested Republican bill to make the ultrasound examination optional for women seeking abortions. In the procedure, a wand-like device is inserted and used to send out sound waves.
“Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state,” said McDonnell, who had previously supported the legislation. “No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.”
His written statement came as the House’s majority Republicans quarreled about how to handle the legislation minutes before it was to be debated. House Republicans twice recessed Wednesday’s session to regroup, given the shift by McDonnell.
The bill had already won Senate passage. Opponents say it amounts to the state violating a woman’s privacy. Supporters say it is medically prudent to determine fetal gestational age and, perhaps, discourage abortions.
On Monday, hundreds of women locked arms and stood mute outside the Virginia State Capitol to protest a wave of anti-abortion legislation coursing through the General Assembly.
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