Home Virginia Politics VA Senate Republicans Defeat Attempt to Eliminate Mandatory Ultrasounds

VA Senate Republicans Defeat Attempt to Eliminate Mandatory Ultrasounds


From NARAL Virginia; Virginia Republicans demonstrate once again that they very much ARE engaged in a war on women’s rights. Just remember that in November.  


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               JANUARY 28, 2012


SB 1332 ‘passed by indefinitely’ with no testimony or discussion allowed


Today, the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee voted 6 – 3 to pass by indefinitely  SB 1332, Sen. Northam’s bill to make Virginia’s mandatory-ultrasound requirement before abortion optional. SB 1332 was the last of several valiant attempts to repeal Virginia’s intrusive and unnecessary forced-ultrasound law aimed at shaming women, all of which have been defeated by anti-choice lawmakers in the General Assembly. Over 600 NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia activists urged Senators on the committee to vote in support of this and other pro-choice legislation.

Several women’s health and medical experts were also expected to testify in support of the bill but were blocked by Chairman Martin, who prohibited discussion or constituent remarks. In what has become a troubling pattern exemplified by last week’s controversial re-districting bill, Republicans took a vote without all Democratic members of the committee present.

“Today’s vote is an absolute shame,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “Not only was this a good compromise bill defeated in the name of partisan politics, but what we saw today is perhaps one of the most blatant examples of Virginia politicians ignoring the people they are supposed to represent. We do not elect politicians  to play games with our health or our rights, and we certainly do not elect politicians  to hold  themselves above the accountability of their  constituents.

SB 1332 was a reasonable and rational compromise that, if enacted, would have improved access to healthcare and returned private medical decisions back to patients and doctors. This is not rocket science – medical choices should be left up to women, their families, and their physicians.  It is astounding that six  senators would continue to put political ideology and back-room maneuvering over women’s health, patients’ rights, and the voices of Virginians.”

Allies in the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition and within the medical community were also blocked in their support of SB 1332. As of 2013, 14 out of 21 states with current ultrasound laws require only that women be given the option to have an ultrasound prior to an abortion. 

  • From the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus:

    Senate Republicans Defeat Bill to Overturn

    Mandatory Ultrasounds

    Republican Senators Continue to Push an Overreaching, Divisive Agenda

    RICHMOND, VA – Today, Senate Republicans defeated Senator Ralph Northam’s bill, SB 1332, that would have overturned the costly, mandatory ultrasound requirement by making the ultrasound optional.

    In an irregular meeting of the Senate Education and Health Committee scheduled with less than 17 hours notice, Republican Senators voted unanimously to shelve Senator Northam’s bill. In an unprecedented attempt to force their overreaching agenda on Virginia women, the Republican Senators did not allow Senator Northam to present his legislation. They also denied all witnesses an opportunity to speak about the bill.

    “This hearing was a sham. Today, Republicans mocked the voters who sent them here. Virginians elect legislators to make knowledgeable, informed decisions. Virginia’s women deserve nothing less when lawmakers make important decisions about their health care. But the Republicans aren’t interested in listening; they refused to let me or any witness speak about the bill. This was nothing more than a kangaroo court,” said Senator Ralph Northam (D-Northam).

    “Here’s what I saw: choo, choo – railroad!” said Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax). “The Republicans are bent on railroading through an agenda with total disregard for the women of Virginia. Since Senator Northam is the only physician in the Senate, every legislator should listen when he speaks about women’s health care. It’s obvious Republicans aren’t interested in listening. They scheduled this meeting late last night. They stopped witnesses from testifying. They even stopped Senator Northam from presenting his bill at all. This is another grim day for the Senate of Virginia and for Virginia women.”