Ultrasound bill survives Senate

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Just a day after republicans appeared to be losing votes, the GOP sponsored ultrasound bill passed by a narrow margin. The divisive measure earned praise from the governor...while pro-choice advocates claimed outrage.

Impassioned democrats urged their republican colleagues to vote down the bill. But they did not...and now pro-choice women are warning about what happens next.

"Aye's-21, the No's-19...the bill passes."

The quiet reaction inside the senate chamber was not how most of the day unfolded. Earlier, democratic senators bashed their republican colleagues moments before the ultrasound bill passed.

"Makes absolutely no sense," said Sen. Barbara Favola (D- Arlington).

"We don't know what we're doing," added Sen. Don McEachin (D-Henrico).

"We are getting in way over our heads," said Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk).

The bill requires women seeking an abortion to first get an abdominal ultrasound exam. Its passage caps off an intense month of protests, largely from pro-choice women.

Governor Bob McDonnell gave his reaction late this afternoon.

"I was pleased that the bill passed today," McDonnell said.

While the governor stopped short of saying he'll sign it, he gave his full support to the bill.

"I think women have the right to know all the medical information before they make a very important choice," he added.

The bill is a watered down version of an earlier measure that required a more invasive ultrasound exam. One republican voted against it. Two democrats voted for it.

The result, not enough to satisfy this woman...who sat in the gallery, and later said the vote left her on the verge of tears, and action.

"In so doing they have awoken a sleeping giant and the women of this country are gonna come out really fighting," said pro-choice advocate Leslie Lytle.

The senators added one amendment. Women seeking an abortion in cases of rape or incest, would be exempt from the state mandated ultrasound. That means the bill must go back to the House of Delegates before it reaches the governor.

Also from the state capitol: Gov. McDonnell signed a bill repealing a law limiting individual handgun purchases to one per month. The original law passed in 1993 when Virginia was a haven for gun runners. The signing comes after McDonnell met with families of people killed or injured in the Virginia Tech shooting rampage...the families had hoped to persuade him to veto the bill.

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