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Virginia Senate OKs Abortion Measure Requiring Ultrasounds

Virginia's state Senate this afternoon passed legislation that would "force women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion," the Richmond Times Dispatch reports. The vote was 21-19.

Senators made two changes to the controversial measure that had already been OK'd by the state House:

-- "Senators agreed to an amendment under which a victim of rape or incest who reports the attack would not have to undergo an ultrasound to get an abortion," the Times Dispatch says.

-- And, the Senate's version of the legislation does not require that a woman undergo a "transvaginal ultrasound," which require doctors to use a probe. Instead, external ultrasounds would be performed.

The legislation now goes back to the state House.

As NPR's Kathy Lohr has reported, "several states are considering laws that would mandate an ultrasound before a woman has an abortion." Virginia's proposal attracted national attention because of the original requirement for the transvaginal ultrasounds, which critics have likened to medical rape. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, pressed legislators to amend the bill to change that requirement.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.