VA Governor Backs Down on Invasive Ultrasound, but the Bill Still Stinks
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has issued this press release, backing down on the trans-vaginal ultrasound issue, and calling for amendments to Virginia’s proposed “informed consent” law stating that invasive procedures are not mandated.
Over the past days I have discussed the specific language of the proposed legislation with other governors, physicians, attorneys, legislators, advocacy groups, and citizens. It is apparent that several amendments to the proposed legislation are needed to address various medical and legal issues which have arisen. It is clear that in the majority of cases, a routine external, transabdominal ultrasound is sufficient to meet the bills stated purpose, that is, to determine gestational age. I have come to understand that the medical practice and standard of care currently guide physicians to use other procedures to find the gestational age of the child, when abdominal ultrasounds cannot do so. Determining gestational age is essential for legal reasons, to know the trimester of the pregnancy in order to comply with the law, and for medical reasons as well.
Thus, having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done. Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.
For this reason, I have recommended to the General Assembly a series of amendments to this bill. I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily. I am asking the General Assembly to state in this legislation that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age. Should a doctor determine that another form of ultrasound may be necessary to provide the necessary images and information that will be an issue for the doctor and the patient. The government will have no role in that medical decision.
Gov. McDonnell says, “No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.”
But why does it matter whether the procedure is invasive or not? The state has absolutely no business mandating any kind of unnecessary medical procedure, and the very fact that this is even being considered is incredibly offensive.
The reason why McDonnell is now willing to back off on trans-vaginal ultrasounds is because there are still plenty of other slut-shaming provisions in the bill. If it passes, the anti-choice cavemen still come out ahead.
For example, the bill also says that if a pregnant woman lives at least 100 miles from a clinic, the mandatory ultrasound must be performed at least two hours before the abortion, to give plenty of time for mental suffering to be inflicted.
If it isn’t clear by now, I have no respect at all for these 17th century religious fanatics or the regressive laws they’re forcing on American women. This bill is an abomination, and should still be protested by anyone who gives a damn about women’s rights.