RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the controversial ultrasound bill into law Thursday.
The highly contentious measure requires women seeking an abortion to first get an abdominal ultrasound exam.
In signing the bill, McDonnell said it puts Virginia in line with 23 other states that have similar laws.
"As difficult as an abortion decision is, the information provided by ultrasounds, along with other information given by the doctor pursuant to current law and prevailing medical practice, can help the mother make a fully informed decision," said McDonnell in a press statement. "I consider it important to embrace a culture of life in our Commonwealth, and to protect the life and liberty of all of our citizens."
The bill was amended at the Governor's request to remove a clause that would have required trans-vaginal ultrasounds and to exclude victims of rape and incest.
Pro-choice and women's rights groups had decried the bill and staged protests. They voiced their disappointment this afternoon. "Faced with the opposition of 55% of Virginians, 33,000 petition signatures, and thousands of protestors on Capitol Square, McDonnell chose to answer the calls of extremists in his own party rather than those of his constituents," said ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl. "This move makes clear that Bob McDonnell prioritizes his national political aspirations over the well being of Virginia families."
Former Gov. Tim Kaine also condemned Gov. McDonnell's action, saying "I continue to believe this legislation is bad for Virginia's image, bad for Virginia's businesses and bad for Virginia's women."
However, the signing of the bill drew praise from pro-life groups who supported the Governor's decision.
"We are very pleased that the Governor ignored the hysterical rantings of the abortion industry and its defenders and signed this reasonable, common sense measure into law," said Virginia Cobb, President of the Family Foundation of Virginia.
"Governor Bob McDonnell should be commended for making Virginia the eighth state to ensure that a woman have the necessary information on her unborn baby before choosing to end the life of her child," said Students for Life of America Executive Director Kristan Hawkins. "A mother should always be presented with not only an image of her child via an ultrasound but all the necessary medical and psychological information about abortion."
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