Republican Delegate Kathy Byron from Lynchburg is sticking to her guns that requiring women to get an ultrasound before getting an abortion is what is best for women's health.
She told our newsroom at the Richmond Times-Dispatch that a transvaginal ultrasound is the best way to determine a fetus' age early on, and is often needed early in a pregnancy.
Byron claimed that the transvaginal ultrasound is something that clinics like Planned Parenthood use often.
Tanya Semones is a field director with Planned Parenthood in Roanoke.
She said it's true that Planned Parenthood does offer ultrasound exams to women including transvaginal; however, they are not required to do so and exams are only done after a consent form is signed by the patient.
"We'll continue to put our patients first but the concern is why wouldn't that amendment (giving women a choice) be offered?” Semones asked. “Why wouldn't that be taken seriously?"
She added that each patient is treated individually so it’s not fair to say transvaginal ultrasounds are used often.
In a statement Wednesday Republican Governor Bob McDonnell said he would not support the original bill without amendments.
"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," he said.
The House of Delegates passed a similar bill late Wednesday afternoon by a 65-32 vote.
The amended bill still requires women to have an external abdominal ultrasound and to make two trips to a clinic before an abortion can be performed.
It’s a stance that Planned Parenthood said they are firmly against.
"This bill is just a delay tactic,” Semones said. “It's really just an effort to make first trimester, legal abortion difficult in Virginia."
The amended bill will now go back to the Virginia Senate for a vote.
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