Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell - facing outrage from women, national ridicule from television comedians and appeals from GOP moderates - is opposing a Republican bill requiring vaginal probes of women seeking abortions.
McDonnell, a social conservative, appealed Wednesday for amendments to the bitterly contested bill to make a transvaginal ultrasound optional for women seeking abortions. In the procedure, a wand-like device is inserted and used to send out sound waves.
In a written statement released Wednesday, McDonnell wrote:
Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.
His written statement came as the House's majority Republicans quarreled about how to handle the legislation minutes before it was to be debated.
The bill had already won Senate passage. Opponents say it amounts to the state violating a woman's privacy. Supporters say it is medically prudent to determine fetal gestational age and, perhaps, discourage abortions.
McDonnell said that he is asking the General Assembly to amend the bill, so that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound would be required.