Virginia Senate Committee Rejects Move to Gut Protective Ultrasound law

By Dave Andrusko

Olivia Gans Turner

Olivia Gans Turner

In 2012 probably no state witnessed a more contentious series of debates over abortion than Virginia. And by the evidence of the first few weeks of this year’s session, the Commonwealth will be at the center of the debate once again.

Yesterday, on a six to three vote the Senate Health and Education Committee rejected a move by pro-abortion Sen. Ralph Northam to gut the bill passed in 2012 that required an ultrasound prior to a woman having an abortion and that she be given the opportunity to look at her baby. Northam’s bill would have made the ultrasound optional.

The committee’s decision to permanently pass by the proposal for this session was praised by Olivia Gans Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life (VSHL). “Laws like the ultrasound- informed consent act allow women to obtain vitally need information about their unborn children before making the permanent decision to have an abortion,” she said. “The effect of the bills offered by Sen. Northam and others this year would only serve to allow abortionists to deny women access to the correct standard of care when facing an abortion.”

Ms. Turner was alluding to prior skirmishes that have already taken place this month, including other proposals to scale back the ultrasound law’s protective impact but which have failed.

That same Senate committee also refused to toss out a law that requires that abortion clinics be treated like outpatient surgical centers, if they provide five or more first-trimester abortions a month. The regulations address such issues as building standards, staff training, sanitation, and equipment standards. The fight over implementing rules is ongoing.

However with the help of one Republican on the committee, pro-abortion Democrats were able to turn back a proposal to eliminate state taxpayer funding of the abortion of children with disabilities. This came in spite of the words of “Parents who had adopted children with severe disabilities [who] testified in favor of the bill, including one who helped his daughter, born without arms or legs, up to the podium in a wheelchair,” according to a Washington Post reporter.

As NRL News Today has reported on many occasions, no pro-life bill proposed anywhere in the United States was subject to the kind of grotesque distortion that greeted the ultrasound proposal in Virginia. (See here.)

Suffice it to say that merely to require what almost every abortionist was already doing—an ultrasound–was bizarrely caricatured as “rape by instrument.”

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