RICHMOND, Va.—A final effort to modify Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound law was defeated Monday afternoon in what the sponsor of the legislation described as a “kangaroo court.” Members of the committee said the issue was decided last year, and they dismissed the criticism as election-year campaigning.
The law the General Assembly approved in 2012 requires an ultrasound examination before a woman receives an abortion. Senator Ralph Northam’s (D-Norfolk) proposal would have made it optional. This afternoon, members of the Senate Education and Health Committee defeated the measure without giving Northam a chance to speak.
“There are a lot of women across the Commonwealth, a lot of physicians across the Commonwealth that don’t want the government to come between the patient-physician relationship,” Northam said in an interview with WDBJ7 after the vote. “That’s what I was going to argue today. I think I could have made that point quite well as a physician. And they didn’t want to hear it, because they know we’re right.”
Northam is seeking the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor. After the meeting, Republican members of the committee dismissed his criticism as election-year “grandstanding.”
“In Virginia there’s an election every year,” said Senator Ralph Smith (R- Roanoke County), “and it was playing out campaigning right there in the session.“ “This was voted on, settled last year ,” Smith said in an interview, “and someone’s choosing to make it a campaign issue this year.”
Several other efforts to repeal the mandatory ultrasound requirement have already been defeated in the State Senate and the House of Delegates.