Va. Pre-abortion Ultrasound Law Draws Swift Reaction from Nonprofit Groups

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March 7, 2012; Source: Washington Post (AP)

In what Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called “an appalling and offensive government overreach,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law a bill requiring abortion providers to administer abdominal ultrasounds in all cases except where victims of rape and incest report their victimization to police.

In addition to Planned Parenthood, other women’s rights groups reacted equally harshly to the bill’s passage. According to Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, “Governor McDonnell’s unwillingness to listen to the thousands of women…who are outraged by this political overreach into their lives shows nothing more than arrogance.” She painted the Virginia law, the seventh in the nation requiring pre-abortion ultrasounds in some fashion, as the most egregious invasion of women’s privacy to date and draconian meddling into the work of medical care providers. The Women’s Strike Force (WSF) coalition issued a statement that the law “serves to demean women and subject them to a costly and unnecessary medical procedure.” WSF spokeswoman Rebecca Geller announced her organization will form a PAC to attack supporters of H.B. 462, as the bill is officially known.

Nonprofit groups on the other side of the political spectrum defended Gov. McDonnell’s signing with vigor. Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation, professed a belief that protestors are motivated by greed: “The abortion industry fears that a woman might see the unborn for what they are and make a different choice, which means less money in the industry’s coffers, and that is what opposition to the bill has always been about,” she said. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins hailed the law as a victory for women and the unborn.

The original bill had required an invasive vaginal ultrasound, a provision McDonnell forced fellow conservative legislators to remove from the bill after thunderous opposition throughout the country. But the new version did not assuage many people who support and defend abortion rights, and has in fact swelled the ranks of the movement. “We are not going to just go off quietly into the night. They just made an activist out of me,” said business consultant Molly Vick, who had joined protests at the Virginia Capitol. –Louis Altman

  • Dorothy

    I’m not sure why groups who want women to be fully informed and empowered prior to making health care decisions should object to providing an ultrasound for a woman seeking an abortion. It provides her with more data so she can make an informed decision. Why do they want to keep her in the dark about what is happening in her womb? What are they afraid of?

  • Bob Diamond R.Ph

    Does Cecile Richards really think that an ultra-sound is more offensive, outrageous and draconian than an abortion? I have been told more than once that if you want to find out what’s behind something you need to ‘follow the money.’

  • Cory

    If you take Ms. Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, argument to the end it unravels her stance on providing contraception through the HHS mandate. She states that, “Governor McDonnell’s unwillingness to listen to the thousands of women…who are outraged by this political overreach into their lives shows nothing more than arrogance.” Mandating the government and private companies to pay for personal contraception is the definition of political overreach Ms. Keene. Please choose.

  • A. Schaftlein

    Government and private companies paying for medication is not overreach it is what they are supposed to do. No one is criticizing vasectomies for being covered by many insurance companies. Women take birth control for a variety of reasons, not just for contraception. It should be covered like all other medications. Mandating that women undergo an unnecessary and expensive procedure, on the other hand, is in fact overreach. Providing the option to choose to have the ultrasound would provide her with more information about her pregnancy, but it should not be mandatory.

  • Julie

    Actually, the individuals making the arguments against birth control are also making the same argument against sterilization procedures. You make an interesting point against birth control being prescribed for other conditions. I have found that OBGYN’s are incredibly eager to prescribe them for the littlest irregularities which tend to adjust themselves with time and changes in nutrition, sleep, etc. It’s amazing. The side effects of birth control are incredibly scary and truly dangerous. But they are prescribed by many without a second thought to alternatives.

    I also think it’s interesting to note that birth control pills are the only ‘medicine’ that takes a perfectly healthy and functioning system of the body and renders it dysfunctional. Is that really legitimate ‘health care’? I don’t think so.